LibDem Sandford backs Cereste’s solar ambitions

pickles07:12 Wednesday 6th August 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: A working group of Peterborough councillors has met once again to discuss the financial risks of a proposed solar farm in the city. The cross-party group had previously pooh poohed the scheme, saying the risks were too high, and too much public money had been invested already. But fellow councillors deemed their report as light on detail, hence why they’ve been asked to meet again. Meanwhile Cambridgeshire County Council has submitted its own plans for a 50,000 solar panel farm near Soham. Well let’s speak to Nick Sandford. He’s the Leader of Peterborough LibDems, and on the working group looking into whether the expense of a huge solar farm at America Farm near Peterborough might be worth it. Nick, good morning.
NICK SANDFORD: Morning Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: Why are you having to meet again?
NICK SANDFORD: Well I wasn’t actually at the original meeting that took place, but I was actually at the Scrutiny Meeting when they presented their report, and they were recommending that the project be discontinued..
Continue reading “LibDem Sandford backs Cereste’s solar ambitions”

Peterborough Labour Let Tories Off the Hook

abacus07:07 Tuesday 17th June 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[P]AUL STAINTON: Our main story this morning, one of Cambridgeshire’s biggest political characters, Marco Cereste, has survived a challenge to his leadership and will remain Leader of Peterborough City Council until at least next year. It’s after the Council’s Annual General Meeting last night. A motion to oust him as Leader was voted down by 32 votes to 14. 10 councillors chose to abstain. The result means he remains as Leader, but without overall control. It was also agreed the Council will explore the possibility of switching to a committee system, and that a cross-party working group will discuss next years Budget, and that councillor David Over will be Mayor for next year. Ben Stephenson was at the Town Hall last night.
BEN STEPHENSON: Peterborough’s Town Hall won’t have seen many escapes as great as this one. A few weeks ago Marco Cereste had lost overall control of the Council, and his critics were predicting the end for the Tory general. But last night he made a miraculous escape that even Steve McQueen would have been proud of. The first motion put forward by the Peterborough Independent Forum spoke of a need to remove Marco as Leader. Three Tory rebels agreed, but Labour and the LibDems were not for turning. They said a minority party coalition wouldn’t work, meaning victory for councillor Cereste, and another term as Leader, albeit without the overall control he’s enjoyed in years gone by. The Council also agreed to explore the pros and cons of switching to a committee system a la Cambridgeshire County Council, a move that the LibDems will count as a post-election victory. But what now for Marco and his Tory colleagues? He may have survived another scare, but the anti-Cereste brigade are still insisting that last month’s election result was a clear signal of discontent from the Peterborough public. The question now is whether that message has been received at Tory HQ, or whether the need to balance the books next year will once again put pressure on Marco and his Cabinet.
PAUL STAINTON: Ben Stephenson at the Town Hall in Peterborough last night. So after weeks of uncertainty, Marco Cereste remains as Leader of Peterborough City Council, and he did it with support from his apparent opposition, the LibDems and Labour. Well before we hear from the Labour Group, let’s speak to councillor Mike Fletcher from the Peterborough Independent Forum. He put forward a motion that the Forum’s Leader David Harrington should replace Marco. As it turned out, that was never heard. Mike good morning.
MIKE FLETCHER: Good morning Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: Now, your reaction?
Continue reading “Peterborough Labour Let Tories Off the Hook”

Westcombe Engineering – Councillor Slams VAT Error

taxman07:22 Monday 17th June 2013
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[P]AUL STAINTON: The future of jobs at a Peterborough engineering firm is looking uncertain after a serious accounting error. Westcombe Engineering, which is controlled by the City Council, failed to pay half a million pounds in VAT. The cash has now been repaid in full, but the Council has announced a consultation that puts two posts at risk of redundancy. The workforce there is largely made up of individuals with disabilities. .. Mike Fletcher is the Independent councillor in Peterborough. He’s fought to keep Westcombe Engineering open in the past. Morning Mike.
MIKE FLETCHER: Good morning Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: Are you shocked to learn there could be some redundancies here.
MIKE FLETCHER: It’s very sad news. Making a cock-up like they have done and then wanting to make the most vulnerable disabled people pay for it is absolutely shameful. What I would like to have, and we haven’t got it now, but is the time to talk about the whole core of rottenness that I found surrounded Westcombe.
PAUL STAINTON: Well let’s not get into that right now, because obviously we’d need to go through ..
MIKE FLETCHER: It’s awful.
PAUL STAINTON: … yes let’s not make any accusations that we can’t sustantiate at the moment.
MIKE FLETCHER: I can. I can substantiate it Paul. Continue reading “Westcombe Engineering – Councillor Slams VAT Error”

Another Financial Disaster For Peterborough Council

barricades07:20 Wednesday 27th February 2013
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[P]AUL STAINTON: City Council officials have admitted that the solar panel project on the old Freemans building in Peterborough isn’t working, and the Council still doesn’t know what’s wrong with it. Peterborough City Council borrowed just under a million pounds so they could fit these panels on the former factory in Westwood Peterborough, but the panels have never actually worked, since being installed, and the Council chiefs have been unable to say when it will be fixed. Well Johnny D. is at the site of the building this morning. Continue reading “Another Financial Disaster For Peterborough Council”

Peterborough Council Withholds Data On Solar Panel Income As MEP Joins Critics

he_who_must_not_be_named07:20 Friday 1st February 2013
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: An East of England MEP has got himself embroiled in the solar farm row in Peterborough. He’s going to meet with local councillors and activists over plans to build this farm later. UKIP’s Stuart Agnew will meet activists as consultation closes on proposals for this 900 acre site. Peterborough City Council says the farm, which will be built on agricultural land, could make £100 million for taxpayers. But Stuart Agnew the MEP says the proposal is heavily reliant on subsidies. Continue reading “Peterborough Council Withholds Data On Solar Panel Income As MEP Joins Critics”

Children in Poverty – Department in Disarray

08:08 Tuesday 8th May 2012
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Listen to the audio here

PAUL STAINTON: A charity that helps families and kids in poverty says Peterborough City Council isn’t equipped to support people who struggle to make ends meet. According to 4Children, the Council doesn’t have a strategy in place for helping youngsters and parents cope. It comes after research reveals that three local authorities, Central Bedfordshire, Suffolk and Peterborough, have failed to take even the first steps towards combatting the problem. Well Mark Bennett from 4Children was on the show earlier. He says he’s alarmed by the lack of preparation by Peterborough City Council. (TAPE)
MARK BENNETT: It sounds to me like there is a council in Peterborough which is not taking its duties to children and particularly children in poverty and struggling families very seriously. If you can’t measure anything, you can’t show in a year’s time whether you’ve made any progress or not, because you’ve not actually set yourself any targets. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Well we asked Peterborough City Council for their strategy on child poverty, and we’ve yet to receive it. But they have let us speak to the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr. Sheila Scott. Morning Sheila.
SHEILA SCOTT: Good morning Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: Have you managed to find the strategy document anywhere?
SHEILA SCOTT: Well it’s a really interesting question, because .. Continue reading “Children in Poverty – Department in Disarray”

Secrets and Lies

Tuesday 21st February 2012
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Peterborough Tories fall out in deselection row.

CLLR.RAY DOBBS: I think there’s been a witchhunt. There is a divide in the Conservative Party, and there’s those who support Marco, and those who don’t. I’m seen as being a Marco man, and seeing as how the selection committee is made up five members who don’t support Marco in any way, what chance have you got? .. South of the river are predominately Marco’s men. And anything north of the river, they would prefer another Leader. .. They never stop bickering, and trying to score silly political points, although we are one Party. And we should act as one Party. .. It’s not a case of sour grapes. It’s reality.

CLLR. MIKE FLETCHER: There’s definitely a split. And I know, the decision to oust Pat Nash was made at least six months ago. And for Wayne Fitzgerald to claim she has not been deselected is just a play on words. Of course she’s been deselected. They knew they were going to deselect her. And what’s more, Pat herself had already been told or heard of rumours, that she was going to be deselected, several weeks ago. .. John Peach and Wayne Firzgerald persuaded me to stand as a Conservative, because I told them then I was going to stand as an Independent. They wanted me to stand as a Conservative to form an alliance to get rid of Marco Cereste. They know that’s the truth. I know it’s the truth. Everybody else knows it’s the truth. And then they found they couldn’t do that. They hadn’t got quite enough votes. And so, in the end, I’m so disillusioned with them, I decided to take the bull by the horns and go where I can vote to my own conscience, and for the benefit of the people of South Bretton, who elected me. With the Conservative Party, it’s more like a dictatorship. They sit round like a bunch of nodding donkeys, and they’re told what to do by two or three people. And they follow that line.

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Peterborough Conservatives Up in Arms Over Council Cuts and Rate Rise

08:15 Monday 23rd January 2012
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

BBC PAUL STAINTON: Lollipop ladies .. it’s caused an absolute furore, and your proposals to get rid of lollipop patrols across the city, in particular in places where it’s incredibly dangerous to cross the road. I’m thinking Newark Hill Primary, I’m thinking Eastfield Road, with cars whizzing up and down there. The first time a child gets knocked down, it’s on your heads, isn’t it, as councillors? Are you going to row back from that now? Is the Council going to see sense on that?
DEPUTY LEADER CLLR MATTHEW LEE: These proposals are all out for consultation ..
BBC PAUL STAINTON: But who came up with that idea?
DEPUTY LEADER CLLR MATTHEW LEE: What we did last year was we put forward a number of proposals. We listened to what the public said, and where we could maek changes we did make changes.
BBC PAUL STAINTON: Do you expect that to go through? Do you expect that to be a proposal that actually gets through? Continue reading “Peterborough Conservatives Up in Arms Over Council Cuts and Rate Rise”