08:24 Wednesday 12th January 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
PAUL STAINTON: The blueprint for Peterborough’s future development has moved a step closer to being finalised. The Government has approved the Council’s vision of 25,500 homes, and 24,600 new jobs in the city by 2026. It includes the proposed 5,000 home development at Great Haddon, and makes provision for the Magna Park rail freight exchange plan for Stanground. Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council with us this morning. Morning Marco.
MARCO CERESTE: Good morning Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: What does this all mean for your average Peterbororian?
MARCO CERESTE: It means a bigger better city where they’ve gonna have a lot better facilities, and a nicer place to live.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. And would anything else happen to the plans, or are these the final stages now?
MARCO CERESTE: No this is just the Core Strategy, which would be, if you like, the big picture. And at the moment we’re also discussing the land allocations document which actually then gets down to the detail as to where the employment’s going to be, where the houses are going to be, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. So this is really really good news, a completely independent inspector thinks the Core Strategy is very strong, it’s based on really good evidence, and, you know, really gave it the go-ahead. It’s also really good news because they recognise the environmental credentials that Peterborough has, and that’s really important for everybody, because that’s where a lot of our new jobs are being created. So I’m over the moon. It’s one of the things that, you know, I retired from the NHS to complete, (note: stood down after a £12 million overspend) and I’m delighted to see it’s been approved.
PAUL STAINTON: Are they just fanciful aspirations, or do you have to go through with these? Because some of these targets are going to be very difficult to meet, aren’t they?
MARCO CERESTE: Well they are Paul.. But, you know, we’re going to have a real problem if we don’t meet them. I was looking at some documentation just a few days ago, and in the space of three months, we had over 1,000 new National Insurance registrations in Peterborough. That’s 1,000 in three months. You know, if that was happening every three months, we’re growing at 4,000 people a year, which would be unsustainable. (Note: Not clear whether these figures include people reaching retirement age, in other words, is this a net increase, or just new registrations?) So, you know, we have got to plan for the city’s growth, we have got to plan you know we’ve got 6,500 people on the housing waiting list, that’s 6,500 families basically. (Unclear what “basically” mean? Are there no single people on the housing waiting list? Is it 6,500 families?) They all need decent homes. We’ve got some areas which we’ve got to sort out, because let’s face it, we’ve got one or two of the most deprived areas in the whole of the UK. So we’ve got to sort that out. And we have to put in all the right infrastructure, the schools, get the right jobs, you know, high quality jobs. You know, get the city centre moving now. It’s all sort of it’s all of a you can’t sort of pick out any particular thing but to you’ve got to bring altogether to make it work.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. You’re going to have a bit of opposition as well, aren’t you, because already people are up in arms about Great Haddon, and people in Eye don’t want houses there. You’re going to have a bit of difficulty forcing this through, aren’t you?
MARCO CERESTE: Well I’m not going to force it through. (Note: Speaker may well not be the one to see it through, because as Chairman of Larkpoint he has a financial interest in housing development in Eye, and must leave the decision to others.) And I’m not going to force it through and we will listen to everybody that’s got something to say about it quite frankly you know you know we listen to people who have a serious view about things and where we can we will moderate things to suit the local needs where it’s reasonable and sensible. And we have listened to people in Eye. The original proposal was for over 300 houses, and all the gypsy traveller sites. The gypsy traveller sites are out. there’s a number of houses proposed now is down to 50. Now 50 houses over 15 years Paul, what’s that? Three and a half odd houses a year? (note: see this post. Eye has already had 380 houses built, with more applied for, prior to this latest proposal of 300 more, later reduced to 85 according the the linked document.)).
PAUL STAINTON: Mmm.
MARCO CERESTE: You know, we’re not talking about huge numbers, (note: 25,500) but obviously we will continue to listen and who knows what may happen in the end? But there are lots and lots of parts of the city that welcome what we’re doing, (evidence?) and we do need it. That’s if you want a vibrant city. You’ve got to have the right infrastructure. We’ve got to have some really good new schools. We’ve got to have housing for the people that need the housing. And we’ve got to improve the areas that are desperately in need of improvement. And on top of all that, if we don’t attarct the business, and the jobs, we’ve got a real problem.
PAUL STAINTON: Marco, thank you for that. Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council, with his blueprint for Peterborough’s future development. It’s moved a step closer to being finalised. Peterborough will look a very different place by 2026. Another 25,500 houses, 24,500 new jobs. Your thoughts on that? .. Who’s going to build all these new houses? .. Is it feasible? What would you like to see Peterborough look like by 2026?