Blue sky thinking for Peterborough’s park life

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Ferry Meadows will always have a special place in my heart. It was where, during a picnic on a summer’s day, I popped the question to My Special Friend.

And I feel lucky the land that makes up Nene Park is walking distance from my home and provides part of a lovely scenic route which I can cycle to and from work.

Today PT business editor Paul Grinnell reveals exciting plans for the park which could see it become an even more vital and vibrant part of the the city’s health and leisure offering.

The masterplan covers the years to 2050 and the authors are keen to stress that many of the developments are dependent on so far unsecured funding.

But even if they only achieve half of their ambitious aims it will increase the size and range of the park significantly and that will help it cope with the city’s growing population.

Hats off to Nene Park Trust chief executive Matthew Bradbury and his team and contributors for a vision that could make a significant difference for the better to Peterborians. Now all they have to do is deliver it. No pressure, then!

In a report which fittingly is full of blue sky thinking there is one negative. The authors refer to a rise in park strife with reports of increasing tensions between different types of users from cyclists, dog walkers, pedestrians and walkers.

Sadly, that’s a problem of selfishness and intolerance widespread in Britain 2017. Take a deep breath, folks.

Air quality, or lack of it, will be an issue I predict will move up the political agenda and these plans could help Peterborough get ahead of the game. The vision would see the park come right into the city centre and if, as is often said, parks are the lungs of a city, Peterborough will be blessed with a fine pair.

In recent years the parks’ play provision has improved greatly but there is still not enough. New play areas will help create a new generation of Peterborians who hopefully will also have a special place in their hearts for Ferry Meadows.

Making it worse

No surprise that the ‘clampdown’ on cyclists flouting the Bridge Street ban divided opinion among Peterborough residents.

Quite a clamour is developing for a bike lane to be installed as Bridge Street is ‘wide enough’.

This would make matters even worse – it would be a green light /red rag for the arrogant and aggressive among the cycling community to speed along with no regard for pedestrians.

The elderly and the young - and the rest of us for that matter would still have to cross the cycle lane if for instance we wanted to go to WH Smiths and Greggs.

Leading question

And finally the last word on Bridge Street doesn’t go to the Labour leader.

Jeremy Corbyn made a rather pointless visit to Peterborough to talk to party activists – how is that going to win him more votes?

He refused to speak to the PT, and we can only assume he was frightened he might be asked for his views about cycling on Bridge Street.

Seriously though, the fact that he couldn’t spare a few minutes to talk to the local paper tells us more than anything he could have said.

In Peterborough his words are for the few, not the many it, would seem.

Small mercies

Sometimes I despair of our wonderful country, but I’m looking on the bright side... at least Pippa Middleton didn’t marry John Terry!

Ghost written

A headline on our website last week: Five fined for abandoning cars in Peterborough.

Written by the ghost of Enid Blyton?

A pleasant walk in the (van) park

There’s nothing like a sunny day to showcase our much revamped city centre. And so I had an enjoyable stroll around the city centre one lunchtime last week.The pedestrianised Church Street which links the showcase Cathedral and St John’s squares was a particular pleasant stretch, the sweet fragrance of diesel permeated the air as I peered behind the vans on the lookout for more traffic.

If people are to be fined for cycling down Bridge Street why are vans allowed to drive along so-called pedestrianised streets unhindered?

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Toddlernator the Terrible has been laid low with tonsillitis.The poor lad has had a terrible cough and on Sunday night was hacking away all night.

He can’t have had much sleep and must have been feeling rotten, so it meant a visit to Dr Brown Bear (Peppa Pig reference for those of you aged over 5). When I got home on Monday evening he met me at the door with a volley of barking.

“Still struggling little man?’’ I said. He grabbed me by the hand and led me into the lounge. “Stand there,’’ he ordered.

‘‘Ready, steady, go,’’ he shouted in delight before leading me on laps around the room. “I win,’’ he roared with delight as he broke an imaginary tape and belly flopped on the settee.

And repeat, several times.

I’m going to have a fatherly chat with him. He’s letting the side down.

Has he never heard of man flu?