Thornton on Thursday: Nightclubs left behind in regeneration rush

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -
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When you read comments from council leader Marco Cereste about the revamped city centre, you can almost see his chest swelling with pride.

And why not, the so-called public realm work has, and still is, improving the centre of the city immeasurably.

I’ve gone on record many times to say the demolition of the ugly old Corn Exchange and creation of St John’s Van Park, (sorry I couldn’t help myself) was a masterstroke.

The revitalisation of the centre has seen many new businesses, particularly restaurants, move in and improve the city’s leisure profile.

Bridge Street and Long Causeway have also benefitted. The so-called station quarter is now well underway with the revamped rail station, the new Waitrose and plans for the Great Northern. And then, although don’t hold your breath, there’s even claims that North Westgate might finally be developed. It’s all good.

Cllr Cereste’s response to the closure of Liquid night club and associated venues was that it was a shame but if there was a lack of demand it was inevitable and didn’t signal the city’s night-time economy was in decline.

I think though it is a blow to the city – my clubbing days are long behind me, but nightclubs are clearly a key part of a healthy, vibrant night-time economy.

One of the problems, and paradoxically it is highlighted by the work done in other parts of the city centre, is the downright grotty surroundings of the club area, such as it is in Peterborough.

Take a walk down Broadway or New Road. They are grubby, down at heel and even in daylight hours have an atmosphere that feels like it’s waiting for a fight. A bit of rain and the pavements become rivers of misery.

The area is badly in need of refurbishment or a generation of Peterborians will grow up without knowing the simple pleasure of dancing very badly after drinking too much.

And this in a city that gave the world the Bull & Dolphin shuffle.

Diary Of A Bad Dad: Save the last dance...

Do two-year-olds do irony? I ask because it appears to be the latest weapon in Toddler T’s armoury.

The other day she was going through her full repertoire of resistance to being dressed – wobbly legs, sock hiding, putting both legs in the same trouser leg and a Toddler T speciality – what I call aggressive cuddling.

I confess I got a tad exasperated. “If you don’t let me dress you, you can go to nursery in your pyjamas. I don’t care.’’

Toddler T considered this for a moment before replying: “Okay daddy, you’re the boss.’’

Now this was such a ludicrous statement and quite clearly untrue that I couldn’t help but laugh.

Toddler T at least had the good grace to join in the merriment and had a collective chuckle before we went back to me chasing my topless tot around the lounge waving her vest like a scene from a Carry On film.

Mrs T is unimpressed with what she calls my “permissive parenting’’.

“You should tell her who’s boss, not the other way round,” she ticked me off.

“I tried that,” I replied, “and after a bit of debate we agreed that she was.”

honours: Honour and OBEy

Mrs T wasn’t very happy with my declaration in last week’s column that I would turn down an honour.

“You would not. Me, Toddler T and Baby T2 want our day out at the palace,” she fumed.

Adding: “If you want to be an a*** and send it back later, that’s up to you.”’

health: Paying for it

As Peterborough City Hospital lurches from crisis to crisis, MP Stewart Jackson points out: “The issue is not about funding. The Government has put an extra £13 billion into the NHS over the course of the last parliament.’’

Yet just down the road in Huntingdon private firm Circle, which plans to pull out of Hinchingbroke Hospital, says: “Our funding has been cut by approximately 10.1% this year.’’

When it comes to the NHS the question is not “how much?’’ but “is it enough?”