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.
JOHN HOLDICH: 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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Peterborough park and ride plans quietly forgotten

City’s Environment Capital costume looking increasingly threadbare.

traffic07:17 Thursday 7th January 2016
BBC radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: When you say park and ride in Cambridge everyone knows what you’re talking about. They’ve been huge successes these car parks based around the city centre in a kind of ring with then buses into town, huge success, thousands of people using them every day. Now there have been tentative plans for something similar in Peterborough for years now, but that could all change. Instead of progress being made on the plans, they could be removed. There was a special meeting of the City Council last night to look at the Draft Local Transport Plan for Peterborough. It was proposed that the year-round park and ride scheme proposals be dropped. Nick Sandford is LibDem Leader on the City Council and chaired that meeting. Morning Nick.
NICK SANDFORD: Morning Dotty.
DOTTY MCLEOD: So can you just outline for us first of all what a Draft Local Transport Plan is? What are we talking about here?
NICK SANDFORD: Well it basically sets out the transport vision that the Council has. They’re trying to project a long term vision forward to about 2030. But it also talks about some of the short term projects that they’re going to implement in order to take that forward.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Now it might be news to some people that there have even been plans for a park and ride scheme in Peterborough as part of this Local Plan for the past few years, but that’s the case isn’t it?

It is a proper tale of two cities this.

NICK SANDFORD: Yes it is. The Council’s been drawing up these Local Transport Plans since about the year 2000 and there’s always been a long term commitment to have a park and ride scheme. In fact the Council traditionally for a number of years had a park and ride scheme in the period running up to Christmas, but it only ran for quite a short period. The population of Peterborough is projected to grow by about 25%, so if we don’t actually do something fairly quickly there’s going to be an awful lot of congestion in the city centre.
DOTTY MCLEOD: So what happened at this meeting last night?
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Public health budget cuts – failing council seeks protection

public_health_cuts10:34 Tuesday 4th August 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

CHARLIE THOMPSON: Producer Ben is in the studios holding a piece of paper. That can mean only one thing.
BENOIT STEVENSON: It certainly can. We have a statement to read out. And this is in regard to the public health story we’ve been discussing. So this is proposals from the Conservative Government. They would like to slash the public health budgets for local authorities across the board, across the UK, by 6.2%. It’s just a proposal at the moment. They’re asking councils to contribute their thoughts to this proposal. In total, we’ve worked out that that will mean £2.2 million less is going to be spent in Cambridgeshire. That’s across Cambridgeshire County Council (and) Peterborough City Council. So we’ve made contact with Peterborough City Council who as well from I think the Department of Health or Public Health England had given a report saying that it was struggling in certain indicators. Fifteen out of thirty two indicators they were below the English average. And a statement from Peterborough City Council today, .. Continue reading “Public health budget cuts – failing council seeks protection”

Council partnership with Chinese government called in for scrutiny

10:25 Friday 23rd January 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: A scheme that could see money from the Chinese government invested in Peterborough has been called in now by city councillors. The Peterborough Liberal Democrats have objected to the deal, because they say the country’s human rights record just isn’t good enough. The scheme would see foreign money from China used to develop parts of Peterborough. Well the Tory Cabinet called it a unique idea that would help regenerate the city when money was at a premium. And according to Amnesty International, China has the worst human rights record in the world. But in these austere times, can we afford such morals? Nick Sandford is the Leader of Peterborough’s Liberal Democrat party. He’s also standing for Parliament in North West Cambridgeshire. Morning Nick.
NICK SANDFORD: Good morning Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: What’s your beef?
NICK SANDFORD: Well I think one of the things you said. This scheme that Peterborough City Council has signed up to is unique. As far as I know there is no other council in the country that has entered into a partnership with an overseas regime, in order to bring money into Peterborough. And the concern mentioned, I think it was a couple of years ago that Amnesty International mentioned that China had the worst human rights record in the world. I understand, to be fair to them, it has improved slightly, but looking this morning at some figures from Amnesty International, over 500,000 people in China are currently enduring punitive detention without trial. There’s widespread use of torture, harassment, surveillance, house arrest, the suppression of a whole range of religious and ethnic minorities, the suppression of people with disabilities, homosexuals, a whole range of different things. I think we really have to question. This is not a private company in China entering into an arrangement. It’s a company that the Chinese government wholly owns.
PAUL STAINTON: But when it comes to investment, when it comes to money, when it comes to improving the city of Peterborough, can we afford morals like that?
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Council in crisis awards large payrises to top staff

07:45 Friday 21st November 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: Yesterday there was a big meeting of Peterborough City Council’s Employment Committee. They were discussing the wages of senior officers. Some of them earn as much as £140,000 a year, and some top council staff received pay increases of up to 30% earlier this year. They were taking on new roles. The decision to award these increases has now been revisited. Nick Sandford is the Leader of Peterborough’s Liberal Democrats. Nick, what happened at the meeting last night?
NICK SANDFORD: Well just to put the context, earlier this year back in February there was a private meeting of the Employment Committee, at which these very large pay rises of up to 33% were pushed through. When this became public at Full Council there was complete outrage, and it was decided to refer it back to the Employment Committee. I proposed at the Employment Committee not that we try and unpick all these increases, but that we ask each of the senior officers earning over £100,000 to take a small reduction in their salary.
DOTTY MCLEOD: So when we say small, how big?
NICK SANDFORD: I wasn’t really concerned. I quoted a figure of around about 15%, but it could be 10%, it could be only 5%. But that was rejected by the Committee.
DOTTY MCLEOD: OK. Why are you so worried about these wages? Do you just think it’s too much money?
NICK SANDFORD: We’ve currently got a situation where senior officers, some of them earn up to £170,000. And as I said earlier, some of them had increases of 20% and 30%. One actually had the increase backdated for a three year period, so got £30,000 on top of that. That’s at the same time that the Council is cutting its adult social care budget by 16%. People who are receiving council tax benefit are going to have that reduced by about 40%. So I think all that I was saying was these senior officers on these really high salaries, we should ask them to share in just a small amount of the pain that people on the smallest incomes are having to feel.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Let’s bring in councillor Wayne Fitzgerald who is Peterborough City Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care. Councillor Fitzgerald, why did you reject this idea?
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Nick Sandford on senior officer salaries and the financial competence of the local authority

07:39 Wednesday 8th October 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: Now if I offered to increase your salary by nearly 50%, what would you think? I’m guessing you might think it’s a pretty good offer, too good to be true maybe. Well what if you’re the new Director of Public Health at Peterborough City Council? At a meeting this evening, the authority will ask permission to appoint a new Director, but they won’t be given the old salary of £80,000 that the previous Director was paid. Oh no! They will be paid just under £118,000. That’s a rise of nearly £38,000 a year. The City Council says the increase is necessary to compete with other health sectors and other local authorities. Let’s speak to the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Peterborough, Nick Sandford. What do you make of this new salary that’s being proposed Nick?
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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..
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Peterborough LibDems – Cereste on Trial

08:20 Tuesday 17th June 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[P]AUL STAINTON: So it was a busy old AGM at Peterborough City Council last night. As we mentioned earlier, Marco Cereste is still the Leader. One of the other big announcements to come out of it last night was the Council voted unanimously in favour of following in Cambridgeshire County Council’s footsteps and looking into switching to the committee system. It’s an idea that’s been championed by the LibDem Group. Nick Sandford is their Leader. Nick. morning.
NICK SANDFORD: Morning Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: We’ll get onto that in a moment, but first of all many people unhappy with you this morning for siding with Marco Cereste. Why did you?
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