As 2010 draws to a close, I thought it fitting to review the progress we’re making within Peterborough and to look ahead to the challenges that will face us in 2011.
In short, I am pleased with the headway we’ve made in supporting Peterborough’s economic development. Citywide, there is a strong commitment to growth, despite external impacts from wider economic uncertainty. The city is fixed on delivering 20,000 new jobs coming from existing local businesses or inward investment. Either way I believe that we need effective networks to support future growth across our business community.
We are delighted to see TK Maxx commit to the City, this opportunity has taken many hours to deliver and without it, it is questionable as to whether the investment would have come forward. While TK Maxx is excellent news for Peterborough, I want us to rapidly reach the point where this type of investment becomes the norm; taking other similar cities as an example, I’ve noticed that this kind of investment is commonplace. Going forward, OP will be working to drive key relationships to ensure this sort of announcement is a regular occurrence and that the city can grow to expect big investments.
One thing I’m particularly pleased to see is our new marketing activity beginning to take hold; Peterborough has been too quiet for too long. We know in business terms that we have the whole package based around our location; accessibility; affordability; and the labour markets. But across Peterborough we don’t seem to take pride in our city and instead, choose to criticise the progress being made. With renewed collective effort and a better attitude towards the city, we will enhance our economy and make Peterborough more economically successful and a better place to live.
As you will know, the public sector is going through rapid changes and perhaps some of it timely. However, for the city to succeed and overcome this hurdle, we need to work together to deliver clear support that encourages growth. The new Local Enterprise Partnership will assist in brokering a new relationship with Government and providing ‘local opportunities’ for business over the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough economy. However, ultimately it will be the people of Peterborough that drive the local economy – we would do well to remember this. We are working closely with others across the LEP area to sort out the logistics and I do see 2011 as a year where the LEP needs to start making a difference, this means agreeing priorities and areas where it can add value to the work we are taking forward in Peterborough.
As the New Year approaches we believe these are very good reasons to be optimistic. We have a strong Skills Vision emerging and we believe this will provide business with a strong influence over how skills and qualifications are delivered; our marketing is beginning to encourage a greater number of enquiries and is helping to spread our message further afield. These two examples, amongst others, are the reasons why I believe Peterborough is well placed for continued and enhanced growth as we move into 2011.
Season’s Greetings and a happy New Year.