NIGEL THORNTON: Develop or get off the pot

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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I won’t pretend to appreciate the complexities of getting major developments off the drawing board and into bricks and mortar.

I’m sure it’s not easy, but looking at some of the problems with schemes in Peterborough, I’m struggling to understand why it is so difficult.

A few weeks ago I described the North Westgate plans as a mythical beast.The saga has rumbled on for years but finally it appeared the developers were ready to roll with plans for a £100million regeneration including a multi-screen cinema, homes, offices and shops. But – and this will have come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the story – there has been a twist that could scupper plans once more. Queensgate shopping centre has announced a £30million revamp.

Win, win you might think for city residents. But the problem is that Queensgate plans also include, yes, you’ve guessed it a multi-screen cinema.

Cue that old Sparks hit “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us.’’

Everybody agrees two multiplexes would be one too many for the city centre.

Hawksworth Securities who are behind the North Westgate scheme have come out fighting and warned that without the cinema there will be no North Westgate.

Queensgate bosses meanwhile already have Odeon on board and don’t appear to be in the mood to step aside.

I’ve no idea how all this is going to play out, but it is showing all the signs that it is going to get very messy.

Another key site in the city centre is the old district hospital. For a city with a ferocious growth agenda and a site that is seemingly perfect for development this too seems to be taking forever to come to fruition.

City councillors were dischuffed when the developers threatened to halt development if planning conditions weren’t altered in their favour. I have some sympathy for the city council over these delays (although I’m not going to mention Fletton Bank or South Quays or whatever it’s called now). But the harsh reality is that the city has been left for too long with huge eyesore sites in its very heart because developers have not delivered.

Perhaps the law should be toughened up to force developers to sell designated sites (at an independently set price) if they do not build within an agreed time frame.

A funny old game

Posh’s 5-1 hammering of Oldham does make you wonder.

Was Dave Robertson that bad a manager? Is Grant McCann that good a manager? Or should the players take a long hard look at themselves?

Left, right, wrong

The campaign and election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour’s new leader was far more interesting than the last general election. The right wing press got themselves in a right old tis desperately trying to make sure he didn’t get the job. The gist of their argument was “Labour won’t get back in power if he’s their leader’’.

Isn’t that what they want?

Cashing in

Belated congratulations to Bourne couple Rachel and Rob Bingham who won £1million on the lottery. I loved Rachel’s revelation that on the morning she discovered the win she got so excited she couldn’t remember where she had parked her car.

Just buy another one, Rachel.

..if you’re passing

Belated congratulations also to the Queen on becoming our longest ever reigning monarch. By my reckoning it’s 24 years since she last visited Peterborough.

Perhaps she could pop in the next time she’s on her way to Sandringham?

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Idoubt granny will recover very quickly from the shock of Toddler T’s admission that she’d put her head in a giant pig.

I suppose we should be grateful she didn’t say it to somebody from social services!

It was all innocent, of course, but typically with toddlers that bald statement was made without any context.

So granny wasn’t aware that the pig in question was a huge inflatable one that was one of the stars of Peterborough Festival.

The family Thornton had popped along to the festival on Sunday afternoon for a few hours and Gloria (the inflatable pig) was our favourite although Toddler T was a bit disappointed she couldn’t take home her curly tail.

Imagination is not something Toddler T is lacking... particularly when it comes to delaying bedtime.

Her latest ruse is (after her bedtime story, kisses for her and Parge the pink dog and a negotiation about how far wide open to leave her bedroom door) is her equivalent to Radio 4’s Thought For The Day.

In her case it takes the form of a question. The problem is they are getting more and more difficult.

I didn’t think her questions could get more tricky than “how do penguins become toys, daddy?’’ She has a penguin soft toy called Pinka and I’m afraid my lame response was “...er, I’ll look it up and tell you in the morning.’’

When I told Mrs T about my answer I got reprimanded for copping out.

TT stumped me again last night. Sweetly she asked “Daddy, what makes stars twinkle?’’, but she knew I’d struggle.

I reckon an astro-physicist would struggle with that one, and me with my B in O level Physics with chemistry had no chance.

I did try. “Well, I said, stars are covered in a magic dust that makes them twinkle.’’

She wasn’t fooled for a second.”I don’t think that’s right,’’ she said dismissively.

But happy that she’d beaten me again, she decided to put me out of my misery and went to sleep.

I confessed to Mrs T my latest failing but got no sympathy. “That’s a rubbish answer, I’m not surprised she was unimpressed.

“You should have said ‘Stars are big balls of gas, and they shine because the gas inside is so hot that it causes nuclear fusion, which is the energy releasing process that people can see from earth.’’

Hopefully it won’t be long before Toddler T can Google the answers herself!