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!

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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!?

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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!

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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!

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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…

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