NIGEL THORNTON: Peterborough’s quiet revolution

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

There is a quiet revolution underway in Peterborough and it might prove to be part of the answer to a problem the city has wrestled with for many years.

The revolution involves the conversion of office space into affordable homes right in the heart of the city.

From Hereward Tower on Broadway to the old City Club on Priestgate, more and more buildings are becoming homes.

Even dear old Telegraph Towers (aka New Priestgate House) is being converted into flats.

And the problem these developments could solve is the struggling night-time economy.

For decades, after the office workers go home, the city has emptied and Peterborough has gone to sleep.

When I first arrived here in the late 90s I was staggered to see that even on Friday and Saturday nights the city centre was virtually deserted with metaphorical tumbleweed blowing across Cathedral Square.

The problem has since been exacerbated by the changing social habits that has led to the decline of the nightclub.

The city has been growing at a fast rate, but even with the influx of restaurants Peterborough doesn’t feel like a thriving city at night. The influx of homes should create consumers ready and able to tap into the bars, restaurants and shops in the city centre in the evening.

The other key boost would be the creation of a university andPeterborough really does need one if it is to move to the next level.

And who knows the continued growth of an inner city population allied to a vibrant student community might even lead to a purpose-built decent-sized concert venue.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

As a kid I used to get the “ children in Africa are starving’’ speech from my mum and dad if I dared to leave any food uneaten.

I’ve made a silent promise to myself that I won’t resort to these tactics with my children. Fortunately so far Toddler T and the Toddlernator are proving to have healthy appetites.

Mind you Toddler T takes so long eating her tea I could probably drive to the Democratic Republic of Congo with a selection of green vegetables and be back before she’s tucking into her afters.

Strangely when it comes to ice cream, jelly or cake she polishes it off quicker than a Labrador.

My parents’ words did have an effect on me and I hate wasted food. But having banned myself from the “Africa’’ speech I admit I have succumbed to that disgusting (if you’re not a parent of young children that is) parental habit of eating food they’ve left.

Surprisingly a mouthful of cold baked beans or an half-eaten apple found in a shoe, don’t taste as bad as you’d think.

Getting in this scavanger mindset does have drawbacks though – like when you think you’re eating a bit of discarded rocket and you discover it’s actually a leaf that’s blown in from the garden.