Interesting review of Labour’s new policy to provide free school meals to all primary school children between Angela Rayner, shadow education secretary and Sir Michael Wilshaw, former Chief Inspector of schools. A lib dem policy is retreaded to take money from parents who can afford to pay for their own child (as well as paying for state education as a proportion of their taxes) and giving it to families regardless of ability to pay. If you are going to produce a truly “progressive Socialist policy”, and increase the tax burden on wealthier families, why not look at those children identified as genuinely needing additional support and focus on them. The Pupil Premium is targeted to close the attainment gap for children in difficult circumstances and is carefully monitored by Ofsted to ensure the money is spent on this particular group. Punishing those parents who choose to spend significant additional sums on their children’s education, only to throw it at all children in state primary schools, regardless of need is hardly evidence-based. The independent schools sector say the sums behind this policy don’t add up. This feels like the politics of envy.

from Andy Coles, Conservative Councillor in Fletton and Woodston Ward

Drug Den Danger on the Riverbank

The brilliant volunteers of Woodston proved that together we can make our environment a better place, with a two hour blitz on the south riverbank last Saturday morning.  Working with the probation service’s Community Payback team, we cleared a huge pile of rubbish, collecting up piles of cans, clothes and bedding, food wrappers and glass.  Well done to everyone.


However, we also found a shocking amount of drug paraphernalia in the undergrowth.  Uncapped dirty needles, syringes, drug spoons and over 70 needle disposal boxes, the majority left empty!  We have a problem of drink and drug use just off a well-used public footpath.


We carefully collected up what was easy to see and safely disposed of the needles in the correct sharps bins, but what is clear is the drug users here are completely irresponsible.  There are genuine public health risks from needle-stick and blood borne diseases.  I am now asking public health, the Prevention and Enforcement Service and providers of support to drug addicts and the homeless to get on top of this.  I am also asking for the landowners to do some clearance work so that these areas on the riverbank are no longer welcome to drug users.

It is really important to report problems on the riverbank to police via the 101 telephone system or to the Council via the My Peterborough smartphone application.  We need a response, but the Prevention and Enforcement Service needs the evidence to prioritise patrols in the area, and the drug and homeless support services to deal with the longer term problems of the users here.  Let’s make our riverside safe and clean so everyone can enjoy the green spaces we have in the city.  In the meantime, please don’t let children or dogs go into the undergrowth.


I’ve enjoyed a good week of making connections and getting the right people talking together. There are times when your position of Councillor allows good people to support each other in making the local area a much better place.

from Andy Coles, Conservative Councillor in Fletton and Woodston Ward

Litter Picking on the Riverbank

We have a real problem with litter spreading along the banks of the river and the cycle and footpaths between the Asda footbridge and Railworld.  I am working with the Leader of the Council to get something done to clear up the horrible mess.


Last year I took part in the Rivercare group on the north bank of the river, and also Alan Paul’s “Clean for the Queen” litter pick around Wharf Road under the Neighbourhood Watch banner.  What we need is a good team of local residents to add to the numbers to clear the area and to monitor any additional build up so that we can get on top of this regular problem.  Please message me if you would be willing to get involved.

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 18.47.59

October 2016 – Meeting with Council and Amey Staff

Cllr Serluca and I met with staff from Amey, Skanska and the Council on a ward walk to discuss several problems that had been identified by local residents.

  1.  Overgrown shrubs

We asked for and got a definitive map of the seas destined for cutting back in the new year, so we know those shrubs that are Council owned against those in private ownership.  We await a council review of the contract with Amey, but also have been given a commitment for those residents who want to maintain the shrubs by their homes, that the Council and Amey will draw up a permission process so those that wish to can do the work themselves.

2.  Damaged Fencing

We identified damage to fences and have arranged for them to be repaired, or removed and grass areas re-seeded to improve the look of the area.

ward walk


3.  Dangerous needle waste

We identified an area where drug paraphernalia is regularly left on a public footpath and have asked for work to be done to identify the addicts responsible and to clear up a spot where drug users sleep rough.



4.  Flytipping

We checked and confirmed the hotspot sites on the ward where fly tipping is a regular problem  and asked that the Peterborough Enforcement Service look to take some enforcement action to prevent regular repeat fly tipping at these sites.



Settling into the Ward, I was contacted by a local resident, Les, who asked for our support to set up a public meeting to discuss local residents’ concerns about local crime and policing worries in the Ward.

At the same time I was approached by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, to perform the role of his Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, something that fits my past experience in the Metropolitan Police.

The meeting was chaired by Alan Young from Neighbourhood Watch, and we were joined by officers from Cambridgeshire Police.  We were able to identify a number of concerns, including:

  • General lack of police presence and visible patrolling
  • Concerns about males following women in the Wharf Road area and along the riverbank
  • worries about recent reports of violent crime
  • concerns about possible drug dealing from cars around the area
  • Speeding in Belsize and Orton Avenues
  • Parking problems
  • Street drinking

We also discussed littering, the Council’s contract for trimming shrubs and grass-cutting and other issues of more relevance to the Council such as pest control problems, fly tipping, and a lack of street lighting.

These reports were passed on for investigation by the police.  What was announced was the setting up of the Joint Enforcement Team in central Peterborough, and the desire to launch a Peterborough-Wide scheme later in the year.  This brings together staff from Police, the Council ,Housing and Fire and Rescue together so that no matter the local complaint, a member of the team with the right skills and powers can deal with it then and there.  A period of training and some legal work would be necessary before it would start.

Newly Elected

election results

Thank you to the residents of Fletton and Woodston for electing Lucia Serluca and me as their City Councillors.  We will do the best We can to represent you.  We were sorry to see our colleague Pedro Faustino lose his seat but welcome Alan Dowson, the Labour Party representative to the ward.

 andycoles Serluca

The Conservative Party now has a majority of 2 votes in the Council and the Council Leader, John Holdich will be putting together the leadership team in time for announcement at the annual council meeting on 23rd May.  In the meantime we would be very welcome to receive your comments or messages on those problems you would like you Councillors to sort out for you:  things like flytipping and street sweeping, problems with grass cutting on public areas, noise nuisances, parking and obstructions, planning issues or concerns about licensed premises.

The new boundary means we will be representing the areas around Botolph Green and Thorpe Gate for the first time, both formerly in different wards.



The local elections to Peterborough City Council take place on Thursday 5th May and this year, it is what is known as an ‘all out’ election. Every seat on Peterborough City Council is up for election and in some areas the electoral wards have very new and different boundaries. After 5th May, the City Council will have 60 councillors to allow for the predicted population growth in the city, three of which will be elected by you in this ward.

In Fletton and Woodston, your Conservative candidates Pedro Faustino, Lucia Serluca and me will need your continued support.

Please don’t forget that on election day you will have THREE votes in the City Council elections (on the same ballot paper).

The Police and Crime Commissioner elections is also taking place on the same day and you will have ONE extra vote.  Your Conservative Party candidate is Jason Ablewhite.

Flood Risks in Fletton and Woodston Ward


This March we saw the heavens open, with solid rainfall, and as a result the regular sign of spring floods along the River Nene.  In the new part of Fletton and Woodston, which encompasses the Thorpe Gate area and Peterborough’s excellent rowing lake in Thorpe Meadows, the water spilled over the banks of the river and flooded the low lying areas by the banks, including the boardwalk nature reserve, the paths by the side of the lake and a fair portion of riverside paths that are so popular with dog walkers and others who walk, run or cycle across the area.

The Nene does overtop the banks of the river in times of heavy rain and snow, and for the most part the water remains within the open areas.  However, with global warming, climate change and more extreme weather events, people who live in areas close to water courses could face rare occasions of flooding.  The Environment Agency has a helpful online map on their website which shows what level of flood risk there is for local residents.

Environment Agency Flood Risk Map

Environment Agency Flood Risk Map for Peterborough

Looking at the map, it shows that the risk of flooding is between 0.1% in the light blue areas, up to 3.3% in the darker blue areas. If you want to check the risk to your own home, HERE‘s the link to the Environment Agency’s website.

Read the rest of this entry »

Community Litter Picks – Improve your local area through volunteer action


Yesterday I took part in a brilliant community activity.  Thorpe Gate Rivercare group hold regular Sunday
morning litter picks on the banks of the river Nene.  I joined an intrepid group of 10 volunteers, and Rivercare’s Project Officer, Fiona McKenna.  The Rivercare project is jointly funded by Anglian Water and delivered on the ground by Keep Britain Tidy, and the local group is ably organised by Con Carey and Jill Murdoch and is one of four Rivercare groups in Peterborough.  The sun shone and we soon warmed up as we began to fill up our rubbish bags.

The Rivercare Project allows volunteer groups to be provided with litter pickers and gloves to keep volunteers safe, and the City Council and Amey supports the group further by providing rubbish bags and collecting them up once they have been filled.

In two hours I had managed to fill up 3 1/2 bags with a variety of things that shouldn’t have been in the bushes in the first place – a lot of drinks cans and bottles, piles of crisp and sweet wrappers, and some nasty stuff like used needles and broken glass.  We even found a hand made clay pot, bits of building material, an old car tyre and old bits of bedding from rough sleepers who had long since moved on.   It was good to hear people out on their morning walk complimenting the volunteers on their efforts to pick up the rubbish and it was really beneficial exercise too.

Read the rest of this entry »

Andy Coles
The views expressed on this website are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Conservative Councillors' Association or the Conservative Party.