08:22 Thursday 23rd May 2013
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
PAUL STAINTON: Well the Leader of Peterborough City Council has reshuffled his Cabinet team, following an extraordinary two weeks at the Town Hall. Marco Cereste will work without a Deputy, following a failed Leadership challenge earlier this month by his then Deputy Matthew Lee. Cllr Lee has been dropped from the Cabinet, along with disgraced Cllr Peter Hiller, who was recently convicted of causing criminal damage. Elsewhere, Cllr Gavin Elsey has been moved to the position of Culture, Recreation and Waste Management, and Cllr Nigel North moves to Environment Capital and Neighbourhoods, while Cllr Irene Walsh adds responsibility for Public Health and Communications to her Community Cohesion and Safety brief, and Cllr Matthew Dalton has left the Cabinet for family reasons. Well we can now speak to the man himself, Marco Cereste. Morning Marco.
MARCO CERESTE: Good morning Paul. You OK?
PAUL STAINTON: Yes I’m good, thank you. Very very good. memories of wrestling flooding through my mind this morning.
MARCO CERESTE: Oh well you see I’m old enough to remember all of that. It used to be great. You should have seen my grandma when they were wrestling. (HE LAUGHS)
PAUL STAINTON: Was she the one with the handbag?
MARCO CERESTE: She was in the ring with them. You should have seen it. It was great fun.
PAUL STAINTON: Anyway, you’ve had a bit of a wrestle with your new Cabinet, haven’t you? Two falls and a submission for Matthew Lee.
MARCO CERESTE: It all .. it all .. you know, it’s all part of the rich tapestry of life Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: Did he have to go?
MARCO CERESTE: I don’t particularly want to talk about Matthew. You know, he’s chosen his pathway, and that’s his decision. I’ve got to get on with running the city, and we need a Cabinet that can deliver the things that we need to deliver and continue the good work that we’re doing in the city.
PAUL STAINTON: Yeah. And you’ve moved people around a bit. Gavin Elsey into Culture Recreation and Waste Management, and you’ve taken on a few more extra responsibilities. Have you still got a bit of time on your hands to cope with them all?
MARCO CERESTE: Well what you .. what of course .. you know I did try to tell your researcher but we didn’t have time before you .. you know I had to speak to you, but I managed to convince Matthew Dalton to stay on as Cabinet Adviser. I mean you know clearly he’s he’s got a big business to run, and he needed to get off and run his family business. But you know I managed to convince him to stay on as Cabinet Adviser to give me a hand.
PAUL STAINTON: Right.
MARCO CERESTE: So between the two of us we should be able to manage. It is a hell of a job and people don’t realise how much work is involved in being a Cabinet Member or a councillor, but we’ll get there, you know. We’re all passionate about the city and we will deliver, like we have done on everything else.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. Peter Hiller had to go though, didn’t he, after being convicted of keying that car.
MARCO CERESTE: Oh. Really unfortunate, but that’s the way life is.
PAUL STAINTON: Should he have resigned before he had to be pushed?
MARCO CERESTE: Well you know I don’t particularly want to talk about that.
PAUL STAINTON: Why not? Surely integrity is a big issue, isn’t it?
MARCO CERESTE: Paul I said I don’t want to really talk about that. You have your views. I have my views. I think it’s very personal and you know whatever you may say about Peter Hiller he did a tremendous job for this city, and that’s where I want to leave it for the time being thank you.
PAUL STAINTON: OK. Fair enough. Let’s look at some other issues then, and there’s a headline on the front of the Peterborough Telegraph this morning saying that the fountains are going to cost an extra £96,000 to fix. Is that correct?
MARCO CERESTE: Probably. Yes, probably. What we’ve got to do is we’ve got to make them safe. We’ve got to make sure that they will work properly in the future. They were not installed as specified. So what we’re doing we’re taking the opportunity to fix them, make them safe, and also save us money in the future, because it’ll greatly reduce our running costs. So we’ll spend a bit of money now bringing the fountains back on line, and we will also save money in the future. So with a bit of luck we’ll recover all that and save a bit more.
PAUL STAINTON: When you say not installed as specified, whose fault is that?
MARCO CERESTE: Those were the exact words that I used, and I used them very very very carefully.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes.
MARCO CERESTE: That will tell you, that will say to you everything that you need to understand. (HE LAUGHS)
PAUL STAINTON: I appreciate the line that you’re walking. But does that mean the Council will have to pay for them to be fixed, or the people that installed them?
MARCO CERESTE: Well, I’ve told you what it is, and you know as well as I do that there are certain circumstances where I can’t say very much.
PAUL STAINTON: Sure.
MARCO CERESTE: So I’ve just said to you they’re not installed as specified.
PAUL STAINTON: Will it cost the people of Peterborough money to fix them is my question?
MARCO CERESTE: Well the answer to your question is initially it will cost the people of Peterborough to fix them. Eventually it will not, because one way or another fixing them will save us money because we’ll get a better job which will cost less money to run, so we’ll save money in the long term, and I repeat they’re not installed as specified.
PAUL STAINTON: And how long before you hope to have them working?
MARCO CERESTE: Some time in the middle of the Summer, the end of .. sort of people have say to me end of July beginning of August.
PAUL STAINTON: OK. And looking at your cabinet, are you confident you’ve got the skills in there to help move this city forward and get our economy moving?
MARCO CERESTE: Well I think we’ve already .. you know we’ve already proved that we can do it. And youi know, if you do .. we’re doing .. you know, anybody that wants to be fair on any marker you want to choose Peterborough is doing really really really well. You know, what other city doesn’t have an empty shop round the Square? The Bridge Street is nearly completed, and that’s filling up. The Causeway we’ll start not very long after we finish the Bridge Street, and that’s also filling up. Cowgate is completed to all intents and purposes. And again there’s new shops going into there. We’ve got people waiting for shops in the city. We’re negotiating with people right now, trying to find them shops in Peterborough for them to come to move to. We’ve got new businesses We’ve got forty nine new business enquiries in the city at the moment. You know we’re building houses. We as you know we opened the Haddon development which is five million square feet of offices, and possibly up to as many as eight thousand jobs.
PAUL STAINTON: Busy.
MARCO CERESTE: The university’s working well. We’ve got four thousand students at the university all in about four years. And so on and so on.
PAUL STAINTON: You’re confident for the future then? You’re confident? You sound confident. You sound bullish.
MARCO CERESTE: Well, I really do feel Peterborough .. you know, we’ve held our own really well during really really difficult times. I dread to use the term there are green shoots, but you know we have held our own when times are really really difficult. I’ve got no reason to believe that we can’t continue to perform really well as the conomy starts turning the corner.
PAUL STAINTON: Let’s hope so. Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council.