Peterborough Willow Festival impasse – organisers blame Council officers

“We’re in the dark, and we believe there are clandestine reasons behind this. We don’t know what they are.”

willow08:25 Thursday 26th May 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: Peterborough City Council are saying the Willow Festival won’t be allowed to take place on the city’s Embankment. The Council says they’ve withdrawn permission to use the land because they haven’t received payment or documents that they need from the organisers. The event’s due to return to the city in July after being cancelled last year for financial reasons. Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of this. The organiser of the Willow Festival Mark Ringer joins us now. So Mark, is it all off this year then?
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Rebellion in the Tory ranks – keeping order on Peterborough City Council

He never actually resigned. Let’s make that absolutely clear.

inspection17:11 Friday 15th May 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PETER SWAN: Let’s focus on this evolving situation as regards Peterborough City Council. Now they say a week’s a long time in politics, and just seven days ago the Tories in Peterborough were opening the champagne after narrowly regaining control of the City Council. The Prime Minister even paid a visit to mark the occasion. But today it’s been a nail-biting few hours, as one of their number has been talking of resigning from the party to become an Independent. Sara who’s reading the news for you this afternoon and also producing is here to explain a little bit more about what’s been going on. Sara.
SARA VAREY: Well Peter as you say it all looked to be going so well. Here’s David Cameron in Peterborough just last week.
DAVID CAMERON: The people in Peterborough who worked so hard , who’ve done so well representing the people of this great city, that are seeing jobs being created, seeing businesses come to Peterborough, seeing great regeneration happening in Peterborough, homes being built in Peterborough, you won because you worked hard and you deserve to win. So have a celebration today, have a celebration over the weekend, and the work starts on Monday. I’ve got a small majority. John’s got a small majority. But I’m sure with the commitment and with the dedication you’ve all shown, you’re going to do great things for this great city. Thank you very much indeed.
SARA VAREY: Well the empties have barely been taken to the bottle bank and there’s trouble brewing. Tory councillor Gul Nawaz announced this morning he was thinking fo leaving the Tories.
PETER SWAN: OK. So just a few days. What’s he been thinking about?
SARA VAREY: Well summit meetings have been in progress all day. Peterborough’s MP Stewart Jackson said that he’d been in talks with Gul along with the Council Leader John Holdich.
PETER SWAN: So how then would this defection upset the balance? Clearly it’s very important.
SARA VAREY: It could be. The Tories has a majority of just one seat. They had 31 in a chamber of 60. That changed from 57, because this year they introduced new boundaries, and 3 extra councillors were elected, which makes a total of 60. Right? Are you following this?
SARA VAREY: So if it was tied, it would be 30 all. 30 all. OK?
SARA VAREY: With Labour .. because the Labour councillors hold 14 seats, so there’s no other big majority or bigger majority.
PETER SWAN: OK. So what is the mechanism therefore if it does end up tied?
SARA VAREY: The Mayor has the casting vote. And the way the Mayor is chosen has also changed.
PETER SWAN: OK. Right. So tell us more about that.
SARA VAREY: Under the new system, the longest-serving councillor gets the job, and the man who holds that title is David Sanders, who’s a Tory, which means there could still be a happy if somewhat precarious outcome.
PETER SWAN: Ok so that’s the mechanism of it all. Are we at an end now?
SARA VAREY: Well almost. Half an hour ago we heard that Gul had now decided to stay. He didn’t want to come on, but John Holdich has agreed to come on and he can fill us in.
PETER SWAN: Well I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We’ll head over and get the latest from the roads, and then we’ll speak to John and see if we can unpick all of this. Because certainly a lot to take on board.


PETER SWAN: It’s been a very busy day in terms of Peterborough politics. The balance of power potentially looking like it may change, but now it looks as though it’s all going to stay the same. Let’s get a word then with the current Tory Leader of Peterborough City Council, John Holdich, who joins us now. Evening to you John.
JOHN HOLDICH: Good evening.
PETER SWAN: So you’ve had a busy few hours.
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Peterborough City Council election 2016 – the battle for control

4-way-tug-of-war10:21 Thursday 28th April 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: So we’re a week away from the local elections – who will be in control of your council come May 6th? Today we’re focusing on Peterborough, and who’s going to be in control of that. Will it still be the Conservatives that are running things, and doing it their way? Or will Labour surge through? Perhaps UKIP will grab a load of seats. Or the LibDems will see a resurgence of yellow across the city of Peterborough. Well let’s find out that they all think. We’ve got in the studio Nick Thulbourn from Labour. He’s the Deputy Leader. Morning Nick.
NICK THULBOURN: Good morning.
PAUL STAINTON: We’ve also got John Holdich, currently the Leader of the Council for the Conservatives. Morning.
PAUL STAINTON: Nick Sandford is here, the Leader of the LibDems. Good morning.
NICK SANDFORD: Good morning Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: And also with us (A CHIME GOES OFF) oh .. also with us .. I don’t know what that was .. also with us is John Whitby, who’s a UKIP councillor as well.
JOHN WHITBY: Good morning.
PAUL STAINTON: Welcome to the show. Well let’s start with the man who’s been running the Council then, after Marco’s ousting. John Holdich is with us. A difficult task. You’ve had to do some difficult things, some of which have gone down like a sack of wet fish with the people of Peterborough. Are you going to pay for that at the ballot box?
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Council Leader – academy system is ‘bankrupt’

“I believe, and I will if I’m still Leader after the May election, I will ask the Council to see whether we can set up our own Trust, and have our own family of schools, and see what we can do.”

peterboroughcc11:26 Thursday 21st April 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: Should all of our schools be turned into academies? It’s David Cameron’s big idea, to turn every school in the country into an academy, primary, secondary, the lot, to force it to happen. However, some of our Conservative MPs, particularly MP for Peterborough Stewart Jackson, not happy with that idea. He’s described it as draconian, heavy-handed. Well earlier former head teacher Eric Winstone agreed with him.
ERIC WINSTONE: In the present context where all schools have been told that they’ve got to be an academy, I think that’s wrong. One size doesn’t fit all, and individual schools and governing bodies should be left to decide in which direction they want to go. From my point of view, in 2006 it was right that the then Bushfield Community College should go down the academy route, for a number of reasons. And that’s proved to be very successful and is now a very good school.
PAUL STAINTON: Well MP for Peterborough Stewart Jackson has urged Education Minister Nicky Morgan to think again, to at least put her plans on hold. Let’s speak to the Leader of Peterborough City Council John Holdich, Conservative councillor of course. Worked in education for decades and decades. Not that many decades but decades. John, morning. Welcome to the show. What’s the thinking behind this with David Cameron? And are you with Stewart Jackson here, that they should think again?
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John Holdich on devolution for Peterborough


07:23 Thursday 17th March 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: John Holdich is the Leader of Peterborough City Council. Morning John.
JOHN HOLDICH: Good morning Dotty.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Now George Osborne, he clearly thinks that having some kind of Eastern Powerhouse, some kind of East Anglian regional assembly or something, would benefit him and the economy. Do you think it would benefit Peterborough?
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Gateway Peterborough – industry cancelled – more houses suggested

“The Roxhill development of warehouses obviously failed, with their admission that they’ve had trouble .. well they can’t sell them. And I’m afraid they’re just trying to recoup their losses.”

gateway_peterborough08:17 Tuesday 8th March 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: Picture this. Imagine yourself driving up the A1M from Stilton to Peterborough. You’re flanked at the moment aren’t you by fields on both sides. Well it had been hoped that some of this land, around 160 acres or 100 football pitches, at Roxhill would be a business park, meaning more jobs for Peterborough, and the people moving into the 5,000 odd homes on the proposed Great Haddon urban extension would have somewhere to work. Well this afternoon the Peterborough City Council Planning Committee will decide whether 610 homes should be built there instead, Local groups say 1,500 people are effectively just going to be dumped in a field with nothing to do, no jobs and nowhere to send their children to school. Our reporter Dave Webster went to the site.
DAVE WEBSTER: New trees have been planted at the entrance to the site. There’s daffodils and crocuses growing on the roundabout. And at the entrance is the Roxhill Gateway Peterborough, a beautiful new sign saying Plot 110 units of up to 1.2 million sq. ft. And there have been some objections to the development. The villages of Stilton and Folksworth are located to the south west of the site, and Yaxley lies just to the south east. And this abuts the residential area of the Hamptons, and some local people are not happy. They formed the Norman Cross Action Group, which comprises many of the parish councils around here, and also interested individuals. And one of those concerned locals is Olive Main who’s Chairman of Stilton Parish Council. Olive, just explain to me what is the Norman Cross Action Geoup.
OLIVE MAIN: Well it’s a group of representatives of the local parish councils and interested residents. We set up some years ago when the Great Haddon project was first developing.
DAVE WEBSTER: What is your objection to the new development?
OLIVE MAIN: Well originally it was given planning permission to be an industrial and distribution site, and it was going to provide we were told many thousands of jobs. That’s our big objection, that we’re going to lose considerable amounts of employment by the site being half developed as housing. Our other objection, over 600 houses, what, 1,500 people, are going to be dumped in a field on the edge of Peterborough with no facilities except a one-form entry primary school. No medical services, shops, secondary school places, no entertainment, no public transport. That’s our other major objection.
DAVE WEBSTER: There were comments about Hampton when that was first developed, but something similar happened then. It’s taken a good number of years to sort out the problems that were caused because there were no community facilities.
OLIVE MAIN: Well inevitably. And this development rather hinges on the eventual development of Great Haddon, and that looks very much into the future. We don’t know whether it will ever happen. There’s no thought given to the transport in and out of the site. It’s just going to be a mess for everybody that buys a house there or the surrounding villages.
DAVE WEBSTER: So what you’re saying in effect is this has happened before, we haven’t learned our lessons, it’s going to happen again.
OLIVE MAIN: I’m afraid so. The whole business of roads and transport in and out has just not been thought through, and we are particularly concerned about that. The site is edged by the old Great North Road. That is now a rather pleasant country lane. It’s part of the Green Wheel, the national cycle route. It’s going to be turned into an access route to this development, become a rat-run through the hamlet of Haddon. And the big problem is the junction with the A15 near the junction 16 of the A1M. It’s just an accident waiting to happen.
DAVE WEBSTER: What would you say to the City councillors that are at the Planning Committee debating this proposal?
OLIVE MAIN: We would say go back to the drawing board. We would like to see the road system developed first, as in the good old days of the Peterborough development Corporation. They put in the infrastructure, and then they built the houses. In fact we’d like to ask them to wait and to make it part of Great Haddon, where there will then be schools, secondary schools and shops, and all the things that a community needs. The Roxhill development of warehouses obviously failed, with their admission that they’ve had trouble .. well they can’t sell them. And I’m afraid they’re just trying to recoup their losses.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Our reporter David Webster there. Sheila Scott joins me now, the local councillor for the Orton and Hampton area. Morning Sheila.
SHEILA SCOTT: Good morning.
DOTTY MCLEOD: So back to the drawing board is the recommendation from that local group. Are these plans really that bad?
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Junior doctors – it’s time to talk

junior_doctors10:25 Wednesday 24th February 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON Many comments from you on the NHS this morning, and whether or not harm is being done to it by the junior doctors’ strike, not forgetting that they take this oath to do no harm, whether it’s the junior doctors harming the NHS, whether it’s the Government or whether it’s you using services you don’t need to use. Grenville says, “Where is the truth in all of this? Why can’t Paul ..” says Grenville “.. not get the two sides on and ask them the real questions, to get past the scaremongery on both sides.” Well Grenville it’s funny you should say that, because we’ve tried all morning to get a Conservative to come on this show and argue that case. We have rung seven, count them, seven local Conservatives and MPs, and none of them are coming on. Are they all busy? Are they all busy Ben? Or they’re all doing other things? I don’t want to get this wrong. Perhaps on holiday?
PRODUCER BEN: Or just not replied.
PAUL STAINTON: In the toilet? They’ve not replied. So if there is a Conservative listening to the show who would like to put forward the Government’s point of view then please do in the interests of balance. because we like to be balanced on this show. However we do have Andy Monk who has called in. He works with UKIP. He wanted to talk so .. it’s a talk show. Andy, morning.
ANDY MONK: Morning. Morning Paul. How’s it going?
PAUL STAINTON: It’s alright. Where are the facts then? Let’s try and help Grenville out. We can’t get both sides on. We’ve had a doctor on, but we can’t get the Conservatives to come on. Who’s right in all of this?
ANDY MONK: Well basically the Government aren’t listening to the junior doctors. Both sides have to get back round the negotiating table. Imposing contracts just won’t work.
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