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OPINION: It looks like another ‘Crappy Christmas’ here in Peterborough



I have scoured the lyrics of every Christmas song, story, and fable but none of them mention erecting an ugly, humongous conservatory in your city centre to make the festive season go with a bang.

There was mistletoe and wine, a large rabbit, some wise men, a beaten-up Joe Pesci, a scumbag, a maggot, and much mention of donkeys, but no sign of the aforementioned glass carbuncle.

Peterborough has definitely got the donkeys though, who else would give the go ahead for such a monstrous structure in our historic city centre?

Why is Peterborough the annual Christmas cracker joke when compared to our near neighbours? asks Paul Stainton

Last year all we had were three Christmas sheds and a tree that looked like it had been pulled through a hedge backwards.

After I registered my utter disdain, regarding the city centre eyesore on Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 show, Councillor Steve Allen promised a festive delight this year. Instead, we have been gifted a glass behemoth with an ice rink inside it.

Oh, and a caged in shipping container bar and the three Christmas sheds, do not forget the sheds.

Where is the vision, the creativity, and the planning?

Why is Peterborough the annual Christmas cracker joke when compared to our near neighbours?

Millions of pounds that could be spent in this city is being lost to Nottingham, Birmingham and Lincoln, whose city centre Christmas offerings look and feel amazing, inviting and not at all crappy.

Lincoln is a similar size to Peterborough and this week they could not cope with the amount of people who wanted to visit their Christmas market and spend their hard-earned pennies on large sausages and warm spiced wine. They were literally turning them away in their droves, but they did not come here.

The stupid thing is that it would not need a Christmas miracle or Santa’s special helpers to attract a few thousand of these people to our city.

Why is Peterborough the annual Christmas cracker joke when compared to our near neighbours? asks Paul Stainton

But it would need leadership and will from those at the top; Councillors Fitzgerald, Allen, and the lesser spotted BID (business improvement district) – something which has been sadly lacking for a very long time, despite their undoubted aptitude for make believe and wishful thinking.

When I was still on the radio, I offered my services for free and presented a picture of Christmas that would have included our best asset – the cathedral.

My vision was for festive stalls with food and things to do, spread across Cathedral Square, leading through the arch to the Cathedral and a Christmas market around the precincts, with local businesses and artists showcasing their wares.

Just imagine the music, the smells, the buzz, and crowds of people flocking to our city and the positive knock-on for every business in the city centre.

I wanted to bring everyone in the city together who could and wanted to help, from all walks of life, to utilise their skills and transform the city centre, for Christmas, forever.

That was five years ago.

I dreamt of a Father Christmas, of everybody having a wonderful Christmas time, a time for giving and for getting, and the bells ringing out on Christmas Day.

Sadly, nobody called, nobody bothered, they did not want my help or anybody else’s, just in case it took the limelight away from them.

So instead, we are left with the nightmare of Mr Dash and the three sheds of Christmas past.

Crappy Christmas



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