Peterborough is growing too much, too quickly

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

Council leader John Holdich has asked me for my feedback about “exciting’’ plans for Peterborough’s future development.

Not just me. He’s asking every one of Peterborough’s estimated 200,000 population for their views.

Well, here’s mine: Stop, just stop.

Peterborough has grown too much, too quickly and the city, and more importantly its residents, are suffering.

Growth, the politicians, like to tell us is “exciting’’. Plans always come with lovely artists’ impressions. They scream peaceful, affluent, prosperous and, the one I hate most, aspirational. What is it we aspire to?

Not being able to see a GP when we’re ill?

A hospital bursting at the seams with a PR team whose constant message (and I don’t blame them for this) is stay away?

Schools whose performance is so poor that one former MP wanted the Government to step in and run them?

Lots of faceless new estates, packed with homes, but with the necessary infrastructure always lagging behind?

More people sleeping rough on city centre streets?

These are some of the things growth has delivered for Peterborough.

Although on the plus side there are lots of restaurant chains that have opened up in the city centre.

What tipped me over the edge was Cllr Holdich in one of his PT columns pointing out that in the next 15 years the city’s population will grow by another 35,000.

I’ll just leave that there... another 35,000.

That is a staggering (and frightening) figure.

That’s an awful lot of doctors and teachers. And already we don’t have enough. That’s an awful lot of homes. And already we don’t have enough.

And that’s an awful lot of social problems, although that’s something we do have enough of.

The plans for Peterborough are exciting... but only in the way that a horror movie is.