Thornton on Thursday: Peterborough needs a quality surveyor

Inspire Peterborough Sporting Saturday at the Cresset: MP Stewart Jackson and city mayor David Over in the boxing ring. EMN-150124-174335009

Inspire Peterborough Sporting Saturday at the Cresset: MP Stewart Jackson and city mayor David Over in the boxing ring. EMN-150124-174335009

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The ruling Tory group on Peterborough City Council might have been collectively patting itself on the back for putting together its very own austerity budget but the cracks are beginning to show and I don’t just mean on Fletton Parkway.

Bosses at Vivacity – the trust set up by the city council to provide arts, leisure and sports facilities and events – have come out fighting over planned cash cuts.

The gist of their message is cut our funding and the city will become a cultural desert.

A lot of people would argue that okay it’s a shame if we lose a festival here or there but compared to providing services for vulnerable children and old people it’s a price that’s got to be paid. But it’s not that simple and even if it was, without the services Vivacity provide we’d end up like some joyless Cold War communist state.

I accept the council has got a difficult job with its budget (so, you can stop banging on about how tough it is) but decimating the city’s cultural offering is not the right thing to do.

One thing I’ve always admired about council leader Marco Cereste is that in a difficult economic climate he has stuck his chin out and driven the city forward when others might have retreated into their shell.

We’ve seen the figures he is so proud of that show Peterborough is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and we know inless than a decade the city’s population has risen by a staggering 15 per cent to 188,400.

But growth shouldn’t just be about quantity, it should be about quality too. That is where the city has and still is lagging behind – be it jobs, skills, education and, yes, culture.

If you were “selling’’ Peterborough to a visitor what would you take them to see? The cathedral, of course, then you might go to such varied attractions and places as Longthorpe Tower, the Green Backyard, Flag Fen, Brewery Tap, the Heritage Festival and the lido.

These are the places and events that make the city a bit different, but a disturbing number of them have been under threat.

I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t take your visitor to see another new estate with rows and rows of identikit houses as nice as they might be. Nor would you take them to see a huge grey box and boast how this warehouse employs hundreds of people.

I doubt you’d even bother to point out the nice new Waitrose, because your vistor might well say: “We’ve got one of these.’’

If the council isn’t careful it will have to change its slogan to A Great Place To Be... But Nothing Much Is Happening.

Court : Does crime pay?

Fraudster Louise Merritt dishonestly pocketed thousands of pounds by scamming her Peterborough employer Kiddicare.

With her ill-gotten gains she bought a chihuahua for £200 and a Renault Clio for £200.

I can’t make up my mind whether or not this proves crime doesn’t pay.

Age: Old ones are best

According to last week’s PT “frail pensioners’’ won’t be affected by changes to the meals on wheels services.

Phew that’s a relief, but I’m still a bit worried about the sturdy ones.

Figures: It’s not adding up

So there’s a new set of crime figures out for Cambridgeshire... crime’s up, crime’s down, crime’s shakin’ it all about...

Why do they bother still issuing them?

Nobody has any faith in them whether they are up, down or sideways.

Economy: Growing pains

There was some startlingly good news on the UK economy when it was revealed it had grown an impressive 2.6 per cent in the past year.

Funny thing is it doesn’t feel like it has...

...maybe because the rich have got richer and the rest of us haven’t?