A new ‘can do’ attitude is becoming established at Peterborough
City Council, its chief executive has told city business leaders.
Speaking at a meeting organised by
Greater Peterborough Investment Agency (GPIA), Gillian Beasley
outlined changes in both the structure and the culture at the city
council aimed at engaging more directly with the local business
Among the initiatives she described
are a re-organisation of the council’s planning department, talks
with business leaders about public transport and widespread
consultation about plans for redevelopment of the city centre.
“We have restructured the planning
department to create a major projects team which can respond to
investors seeking to develop major new facilities in the city,"
she said. "We want to convey the message that we welcome them
here and that we can help."
On public transport, Mrs Beasley
revealed that she is having meetings with representatives of
city-centre businesses to talk about problems with car parking and
public transport, aimed at making it easier for staff to travel to
work and home again at the end of the day without bringing more cars
into the city.
She also said that the council is
about to launch a major consultation exercise – aimed at the general
public as well as businesses – as part of the development of a
master plan for redevelopment of the city centre. That plan, she
promised, would be about "delivery as well as planning".
"It will not be a document which
gathers dust on the shelf," she said. "It will be used to
actively manage the regeneration of our city centre which is at risk
of being overtaken by competitors."
All of this, Mrs Beasley said, will
contribute to Peterborough City Council's plan to move from being a
council which is judged as a 'fair' performer by central government to
one which is judged as being 'good'. This change in status would give
the council more freedom to develop new initiatives.
A key part of that process of change,
she said, will be to respond to the needs and concerns of the business
community – and to be seen to be responding.
Don Lawson, principal of Peterborough
Regional College, also told the GPIA meeting about change and the need
to respond to the needs of businesses. He gave the audience an outline
of the way in which the college is meeting the requirements of
students and employers by – for example – providing training 'on
site' at places of work rather than on college premises.
Like Mrs Beasley, Mr Lawson has only
recently taken up his new post. He told the meeting: "The
potential in Peterborough is enormous."
GPIA chief executive Gloria Milne
said: "Working in partnership with the city council on issues
such as planning - and with the college on training and workforce
development - allows GPIA to provide an integrated package of support
for inward investors who may be creating substantial numbers of jobs
"It all helps to make
Peterborough more attractive – and that is of vital importance where
many different towns and cities are competing for the same