12 Christmas wishes from Peterborough - from ending the Bridge Street cycling ban to improving the city centre

On the first day of Christmas the Peterborough Telegraph sent to me the chance to review the year 2019, writes Toby Wood from Peterborough Civic Society.

Saturday, 21st December 2019, 5:00 am
The Twelve Days of Christmas

Of course this opportunity is gratefully accepted. 
So on behalf of the Peterborough Civic Society, here goes!

On the second day of Christmas Peterborough sent to me a revitalised city centre.

So many of our city centres have fallen victim to out-of-town or online shopping habits.

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Although there are plenty of interesting and vibrant eateries and watering holes, we are in danger of becoming a city of betting shops, vaping stores and pound shops.3On the third day of Christmas Peterborough sent to me a Bridge Street that didn’t have a cycling ban. Now, if you want to get Mr & Mrs Peterborough into a heated argument round the Yuletide log fire just mention this and see what happens. It won’t just be the fire that’s raging.

Then again …

On the fourth day of Christmas Peterborough sent to me a gentle reminder to make sure that people take the opportunity to visit any special exhibition at the museum. 
The recent Hoards: a hidden history of ancient Britain exhibition was quite splendid – we really are so lucky to see such treasures in the city. Make a New Year Resolution now – I will visit the museum more in 2020!

On the fifth day of Christmas Peterborough sent to me rather a lot of sheds in December on Cathedral Square.

Now I can quite see the logic in the enterprise – attract people from Peterborough and further afield to come to the city centre to enjoy themselves and spend money.

But something went wrong – not enough people came to the centre and the whole thing just looked sad and neglected. 
Oh – and don’t get me started on the so-called ‘ice bar’ in the Guildhall!.

On the sixth day of Christmas Peterborough sent to me news that the council may not be maintaining the planters in Cowgate, a city centre street that was extensively refurbished in 2013.

Now I know that times are hard and councillors have had to pare services to the bone. But surely there must be a way to ensure that there is some spring and summer colour in our lives. Or is 2020 the year that we return to black and white? I predict a (winnable) campaign!

On the seventh day of Christmas Peterborough sent to me an end to interminable roadworks and excavations.

There are certain streets in Peterborough who are clearly going for the world record for the number of times they are being dug up. My own street has pavements that are a patchwork of different grades of tarmac, the result of dozens of trenches, cables and pipes.

On the eighth day of Christmas Peterborough sent to me a safe place for people to sleep. 
Our city, like so many others, has been blighted by rough sleepers. Whatever their back stories let us hope that all these unfortunate people receive adequate support in 2020 to help turn their lives around. They surely don’t like living like this and we are discomforted by seeing them at such a low point in their lives.

On the ninth day of Christmas Peterborough sent to me a real Christmas tree on Cathedral Square.

Some people welcomed its return, others were underwhelmed. Controversial though this might be, I think there are excellent ‘artistic’ trees in existence and I for one preferred last year’s!

On the tenth day of Christmas Peterborough sent to me a local paper that does is best in difficult economic circumstances to deliver news and views. 
Many thanks to Mark Edwards and team for giving the civic society a voice in 2019. (Notice the subtle creeping there!).

On the eleventh day of Christmas Peterborough sent to me a small present – nothing extravagant or expensive.

It was a pocket-size magic wand that I can point at anyone who does any of the following things – fly-tip on our streets, drop chewing gum on the pavement and park their car on a grass verge, particularly outside a school. It’s a marvellous new gadget and I look forward to using it frequently.

So, if you happen to notice that one of your neighbours has suddenly disappeared you know what might have almost certainly happened!

On the twelfth day of Christmas (or 12th December to be precise) Peterborough sent to me a new government which promised us all sorts of improvements.

Time will tell if these will make a difference to all our lives. 
Paul Bristow, our new Member of Parliament, has promised that he will “unleash Peterborough’s potential” (but probably not the potential for cyclists to ride down Bridge Street).

Let’s wait to see what happens. See you back here in a year’s time to find out!

Happy Christmas Peterborough!