River Nene Railworld bridge looking west from northern footpath Photo: Peterborough Civic Society

Opinion: ‘Help create a picture record of Peterborough’s River Nene’

Toby Wood, of Peterborough Civic Society writes..

Saturday, 17th April 2021, 5:00 am

I’ve been looking back over some of the civic society columns from past years. ‘We’re banking on a Master Plan,’ May 17, 2018, ‘City Centre needs an action plan,’ April 18, 2019, ‘Where is the vision and the framework,’ April 16, 2020 and ‘Café culture must be done properly,’ July 16, 2020.

All of these articles have, in one way or another, called for the city council to have a planned, coordinated approach to the new developments that are happening predominantly in the city centre.

Sadly little appears to have changed over the past few years. Perhaps, after the impending local authority and mayoral elections, things might change and any new administration might increasingly take on board some of our suggestions. We can but hope.

At this point the civic society would like to pay tribute to the outgoing leader of the council, John Holdich. Over the past few years John has been rather like

Monty Python’s Black Knight, increasingly hampered by having limbs being cut off but stoically defending the bridge i.e. Peterborough It has been a thankless task, running the council in the face of ever-increasing national and local cuts, not forgetting the pandemic. We all have views about how this could have been done better but the truth is that John had the courage to put his hand up and take on the task.

John will know exactly what I mean when I refer to him as one of Peterborough’s leading ‘good old boys,’ ‘good old boy’ being perhaps the highest compliment that one Peterborian can give another. Enjoy your retirement John.

One of the projects that the civic society is undertaking in 2021 is a photographic record of the River Nene. Of course it has been very difficult, and indeed inadvisable, for people to get out and about to take photos.

However, now that lockdown is easing, we would like to invite contributions from members of the public.

This project will provide a photographic record over 2021 and will include views of the river, views of buildings and land from the river banks, and views from boats on the river. We shall also include photographs taken at different times of the year so that we have views with seasonal variation. The project will provide a context for any proposed developments close to the river and impacting on views of and from the river. It will also be an historical archive and a resource for promotion of Peterborough.

The River Nene has a major impact on the appearance of the city centre and defines the landscape of a significant part of the area for 33km in the Peterborough Unitary Authority from just south of Wansford Bridge in the West to Knarr Lake pumping station in the east.

Original photographs taken during 2021 will be accepted and must be donated by the photographer without condition as jpeg (jpg) files and sent to [email protected]

Alternatively photographs could be posted to the civic society’s Twitter account @PeterboroughCS from where they will be copied and saved.

Details logged with each photograph must include.

- Date/time taken.

- Exact location (if possible, with map reference) where the photograph was taken.

- Direction of view and subject. A brief description/comment may be added (no more than 20 words).

- Name of photographer.

A small group from the civic society will select photographs as there will inevitably be duplication of submitted views. The decision of the society will be final regarding which photographs will be included. Criteria for inclusion of photographs will be:

- A unique or historical feature of the river landscape.

- A significant structure on the river, including bridges, locks and weirs.

- Significant buildings associated with the river.

- Significant views from the river, including areas where development is planned.

Copyright of the photographs will be with the PCS. Free use of photographs in the collection will be allowed as long as the PCS and the photographer are acknowledged with the photograph. How the archive will be held and made publicly available in the longer term will be decided by the civic society during 2021 and contributors will be advised of how they can see these photos via the civic society website and pages of the PT.

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