Lack of housing has cost PCC millions of £’s!

Housing Development in Peterborough

A chronic shortage of affordable housing in Peterborough, has seen Peterborough City Council spend millions of pounds over the last few years, on temporary accommodation for homeless families.

The predicament has not been helped either by the Council’s mismanagement of school places i.e. closing schools like Bretton Woods etc, which has meant the need to build two new schools, such as the ones at the Manor Drive/Paston Reserve area, which resulted in a reduction in affordable homes, that was previously agreed.

The number of affordable homes built in 2015/16 fell by 52% and was the lowest number in 24 years.

A steady decline in affordable housing and squeezes on household incomes has seen the number of households local authorities have been forced to place in temporary accommodation rise by 50% since 2010.

This is bad for families and communities and expensive for the council.

A renaissance in house-building by the City Council and a Government plan to reduce the squeeze on household incomes are both needed if we are to stand any chance of solving our housing crisis, reducing homelessness and the use of temporary accommodation, and sustainably reducing the housing benefit bill.

Don’t forget, if you have a view or comment on this, please do let me know by posting below!

Previous related articles

 

Guess how much the new Schools at the Paston Reserve are going to cost?

Paston Reserve

Whilst reading through the latest budget proposals from the the City Council, I noticed that money had been allocated for the primary and secondary schools, planned to be built in the area, commonly known, as Manor Drive.

For the Primary School, the Council has allocated just under £7,000,000 between now and 2021, and for the Secondary School, they’ve allocated over £25,000,000.

You might remember that originally, the plan was for just one school on the site, but once the secondary school places shortage kicked in, the Tories at the Town Hall decided to include a secondary school at the location, which also mean nearly 280 affordable homes would no longer be built.

It also meant that the planned opening of the Primary School was delayed by a year.

I’ve now sent of a request for more information on this planned development, relating to aspects like who will be constructing the schools, designing them, naming them and of course pushing for road safety assurances.

As ever, I’d love to read your thoughts and comments on this matter, so please do post below!

Related articles:

 

What cultural, leisure and tourist facilities will there be at Manor Drive?

Manor Drive/Paston Reserve
Touch/Click this image to view the PDF

Did you know that Peterborough City Council has made a commitment to cultural, leisure and tourist facilities at the Manor Drive development?

If not, you’re not alone!

Hence, why I asked Tory Councillor Janet Goodwin, with significant expansion planned in the coming years at the Paston/Norwood reserve, what cultural, leisure or tourist facilities, local residents could expect to see introduced at the aforementioned location?

MAP of Location: https://goo.gl/maps/mEzqkqyef1y

Cllr Goodwin responded, “…the council are currently undertaking a review of all leisure facilities including playing pitches and green space located in the city in order to build an evidence base for future development for which Paston and Norwood are included.

“The recommendations of this review will form part of the council‘s new active lifestyles strategy in partnership with Sport England and will be managed by a board with representatives from across the city. With regard to culture and tourism, the council’s cultural strategy makes provision to expand cultural opportunities.”

I then pointed out that according to Council’s own core strategy policy CS18, ‘the council will encourage development of new cultural, leisure and tourist facilities that will meet the needs of the growing population particularly in the proposed new urban extensions of Great Haddon and Paston Reserve and Norwood.’

I then asked for some precise examples of what will be introduced to meet the needs of the growing population and the Paston and Norwood reserve.

Councillor Goodwin concluded by stating that until a review is carried out they “…won’t know exactly what the needs are and what we will be able to provide.”

So, it looks like under the Tories at the Town Hall, it’ll be another example of wait and see ………..coz that always works out, eh!?

1mv8e2
Watching Tories at the Town Hall plan ahead for the future, is like ……….!

 

Tories fail to give road safety assurances at Manor Drive!

Manor Drive

At the last meeting of Full Council, I stood up and raised the issue of speeding and road safety in and around Manor Drive, with the Conservative’s Cabinet Member for Growth, Planning, and Housing Development.

For the record, I regularly receive messages from local people who complain of a range of speeding and poor driving in the area.

Given the planned opening of a new primary and secondary school in the coming years at this location, plus further additional housing, I asked for assurances that relevant and required road safety measures would be introduced, and whether we could look forward to a 20mph speed limit, specifically around the planned location of the schools?

Councillor Peter Hiller, responded:

“The main spine road through Paston Reserve, Manor Drive, is subject to a 30mph restriction, as it will be for the remainder of it when fully built. Our highways officers will of course to monitor the traffic and the issues ongoing.”

So not exactly the greatest response! But that said, I’ll continue to formally raise the matter and push for action.

Suspect that the Tories know their time is coming to an end at the Town Hall, so hopefully when we get a change in administration, we’ll start seeing some much more proactive attitudes?

PS – Before I forget, thank YOU to all those residents who have taken the time to contact me on this matter and please do FEEL free to post a comment or view below!

r8qjey
Getting the Tories at the Town Hall to plan for future problems is never easy!

Just 23% of local schools have a 20 mph speed restriction zone!

IMG_8016-1024x679

Road Safety outside schools is an ever increasing concern for local residents, officers at the Town Hall and of course us councillors!

Over the years, I’ve personally campaigned for additional road markings, crossings, signage and of course for the introduction of 20 mph zones outside of local schools.

So earlier this year, I thought I would ask the Tories at the Town Hall, how many of our local schools actually had such speed zones outside them?

At the meeting, I discovered there are presently 85 schools in Peterborough – 60 Primary, 13 Secondary, 9 Special, 3 Further Education Centres and that 20 mph limits are in place outside JUST 20 schools.

That means 76% do not have them!

I for one will certainly be calling for such a scheme outside the schools that are planned to be built at the Manor Drive area.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions, so please do post some below!

New school at Paston Reserve/Manor Drive is just a “buffer”

What’s this to do with?

At a meeting of the Council’s Children and Education Scrutiny Committee, on which I sit on as the Lib Dem rep, we were told that, the new secondary schools at Hampton Gardens and Paston Reserve “…would provide a buffer to the additional capacity required in the City.”

The report also stated that, there “.. is currently a shortage of school places in Peterborough.”

You may remember that the Tories at the Town Hall chose to close schools like John Mansfield and Bretton Woods in 2002, despite warnings from councillors at the time!

What does Darren think?

Put simply, I think this is Council phraseology to say, when it comes to school places in the city, we are up a certain creek without the required paddle!

The Tories are looking for any excuse to try and justify their terrible decision to close secondary schools in Peterborough over a decade ago.

It seems that no planning was done, no one envisaged an increase in the population, or the need to have sufficient school places, despite some at the Council crowing about “growing the right way!

The biggest worry of course is the impact this has had on several generations and how it will affect pupils in Peterborough over the coming years.

Interestingly at the same meeting, the Tory leader of the Council tried to say that the decision to close secondary schools such as John Mansfield and Bretton Woods taken in 2002, was due to a Government directive and enabled the local authority to bid for money to improve existing school buildings – That’s a new excuse for me regarding the derisory decision!

Worth noting …….

  • At the same meeting the Council said they intended to undertake a review of the Primary schools estate, schools such as Norwood and Gunthorpe were being assessed for expansion.

Given the problems with parking at these two schools already, I suspect nearby residents will be concerned about any possible increase in pupil numbers?

PS…

  • If you’ve found this article interesting, then please click/touch this link and let your Twitter followers know – http://ctt.ec/qXu2g
  • Also, if you have a comment on this article, then please do post it below!

AMVC and FA will run new schools at Manor Drive/Paston Reserve?

What’s this to do with?

Well the area, popularly known as Manor Drive, is presently experiencing a high volume of development.

In recent times, due to shortages in school places locally, the Tories at the Town, announced they’d be scrapping previously agreed affordable housing, in order to agree to build a new primary and secondary school, at the aforementioned location.

At a recent scrutiny committee meeting, I was told that:

“A free school bid had been made by Arthur Mellows Village College for the Paston Reserve Primary School in Sept 2016. They would also submit a free school bid for the Secondary School at Paston….”

I can now confirm that the Department for Education have announced that Arthur Mellows Village College (AMVC) in partnership with Fulbridge Academy (FA), have been successful in their bid to run the planned primary and secondary schools.

What does Darren think?

Myself and my colleague, Cllr Julia Davidson, have previously held meetings with representatives from Fulbridge Academy, who have shown an interest in being involved in the running of the primary school. But aside from that, we’ve had little or no information from anyone else.

I’m surprised that given much of the land being sold/developed is owned by the Church, that the Church of England Diocese and the Catholic Diocese didn’t fancy the idea of running at least one of the schools?

That said, I have recently requested an update from the Council’s Education Service Director.

Worth knowing…

  • According to the City Council, the intention is to open the primary school in September 2018, although this may “be deferred until September 2019 to open concurrent with the secondary school.”
  • Both schools will end up taking 420 pupils. Both schools WILL follow the national curriculum.

Additional reading …..

PS…

  • If you’ve found this article interesting, then please click/touch this link and let your Twitter followers know – http://ctt.ec/qXu2g
  • Also, if you have a comment on this article, then please do post it below!

New Schools located at Manor Drive, Gunthorpe, will open ……

 

Manor Drive

During our door knocking exercises this year, one of the big questions from residents living along or just off Manor Drive relates to what is happening with the plan to build schools at the location.

So at a previous Full Council meeting I stood up and asked the Leader of the City Council what they had planned.

He told me that the Paston Primary, which includes 1 Form of Entry (i.e. 210 pupils) has an estimated opening date of September 2018, while the Paston Secondary School, which will have a maximum of 8 Forms of Entry (1200 pupils + a 6th form) is targeted to open September 2019.

You might also remember reading about how the Council went back on their original agreement to provide a certain percentage of affordable housing in the Manor Drive area?

The reason they did this is because they were desperate for a new secondary school and therefore wavered the affordable housing provision in lieu of the provision of land for a new secondary school.

Don’t forget that the same Tories who closed down HoneyHill, Bretton Woods etc are the ones now desperate for school places!

Then of course …………. there’s the question of how will the City Council ensure that the area isn’t invaded by parking parents at certain times of the week?

Wasdale Gardens