NIGEL THORNTON: Bridge Street...think outside the (gift) box

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

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So Marks & Spencer is to close its Bridge Street store. It’s a big blow to that part of the city centre but don’t worry I have a cunning plan.

The council should offer a nice little incentive (like it did to M&S’s neighbours TK Maxx) to a cycling superstore to move into the soon to be empty building.

Just imagine all those cyclists flocking to the store and, of course, most of them would be unable to resist flouting the Bridge Street cycling ban.

The city council with its new determination to clamp down could then issue lots of fixed penalty tickets that could pay for the cost of attracting a big bike retailers.

A perfect circle in my opinion.

The only surprising thing about the departure of M&S from Bridge Street is that it has been so long coming.

Ever since it opened its Queensgate branch many have felt it was only a matter of time before it said goodbye to Bridge Street.

M&S if you remember was lined up to be the flagship store at one of the earlier incarnations of that mythcial beast “North Westgate’’.

The news does leave Bridge Street a little vulnerable despite the bullish noises of potential replacements.

The council’s expensive revamp while undoubtedly improving the look of the street has not really seen businesses rushing to open up stores.

That is perhaps a sign of the changing times of the British High Street.

Peterborough’s city centre offering has improved significantly in recent times and for that the council deserves a pat on the back.

But perhaps the time is right for it to think outside of the box.

One glaring deficiency in Peterborough’s shopping portfolio is the lack of quality, independent stores from dress shops to delis.

These type of stores need two things – a well located but small unit and affordable rents.

Why not redevelop the M&S store by splitting it into small units with a central indoor mall to attract such businesses?

Flow for Joe

Posh, like my team Leeds, have had a bit of an iffy start to the new footy season. I just hope the goals start to flow for new striker Joe Gormley. With a name like that you know what’s coming from the terrace wags if he keeps missing the target.

A long way to go

It was a case of after the lord mayor’s show when Peterborough GCSE results were published. After the previous week’s excellent A level performance the patchy results show how far the city has still to go to sort out its education. GCSEs are probably a better guide to how well teachers, schools and managers are performing as they are dealing with pupils across the full range of ability and attitude. At A level, schools are dealing with pupils who are bright, committed and motivated.

That is not always the case at GCSE but it’s where schools can really show their worth.

Laughing matter

Top marks to Peterborough comedian Darren Welsh who scooped a prize for the best joke at Edinburgh Fringe. I liked his gag but it doesn’t top my favourite

“Did you hear about the purple man who went on a cruise? His boat sank but he managed to make it to an island.

“He got marooned.’’

I’m here all week,

Penny drops on a great idea

Belated congratulations to Eye care home resident Penny Cresswell who celebrated her 100th birthday reccently and who was featured in last week’s PT.

I don’t know whose idea it was to get a life-size cardboard cut-out of the Queen, but it was a cracker.

In fact it’s so good I’m thinking of writing to Buck House to suggest they get rid of the old telegrams and replace them with signed cut-outs of the queen for all centenarians.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Not for the first time, and I somehow doubt the last, I was on the receiving end of an impudent response fromToddler T. Having asked her for about the fifth time to come into the kitchen for her lunch, I was met with a cheeky smile and the cheekier comment “keep your hair on’’. I shot Mrs T a “she hasn’t picked that up from me, so it’s your fault’’ glance but had to retract it when Toddler T repeated: “Keep your hair on,’’ and added, “you wise old elf.’’

For those of you without toddlers this wasn’t so much an extra insult more a huge clue to the source of the rudeness. I deduced the culprit was Nanny Plum otherwise known as the best supporting actress in Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom.

Plum has a bit of a love hate relationship with, yes you’ve guessed it the Wise Old Elf.

I’ve grown to love kids’ TV, and generally it sends out all the right messages so I’ll forgive the Plumster this one. Toddler T’s almost outgrown Ben & Holly anyway.

But this is not necessarily a good thing as her new favourites are Tip the Mouse and Alvin & The Chipmunks – and Alvin and Tip both have plenty of attitude.

Mind you the one thing Toddler T doesn’t need to learn, from the telly or anywhere else, is attitude.