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PAUL STAINTON: My Peterborough, what have we become?

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Peterborough, oh my Peterborough, what have we become?

It has been a while since I have put pen to paper and scribbled a few words, but I feel the need, the need to speak.

After the pomp and the circumstance has long faded away and the unifying effect of our Monarch’s passing has become but a fantastic memory of what could be, we return to the here and now of our brutal predicament.

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You hope for the best, but fear for the worst, in a city where the trials and tribulations of the on/off city centre waterworks have a become a metaphor for Peterborough’s condition.

How can we have faith that the leaders of our city can successfully guide us through the greatest cost of living crisis in living memory, when they cannot even figure out which tap turns on the fountains?

Too busy advising the poor not to have children perhaps or trying to tell us white is black?

These same people knocked down the market and sold it off for a quick buck, all before anyone could say “Is it value for money?”

And this, before work had even begun on the new market stalls for Bridge Street – strange, eh? It is a bit like throwing your shoes in the dustbin and walking barefoot to the shop for a new pair – we have all done it, not.

To add more kindling to the bonfire of incompetence, nobody thought to check on the availability of wood at B&Q.

Our MP, Paul Bristow, blocks those on social media who mock his hairstyle, his incessant pop-up photos, or his claims of levelling up, even when the maths is indisputable.

Of course, it is fantastic that our city has a sparkly new university (long overdue of course) and that investment money is forthcoming for the station quarter and elsewhere.

But the government has stolen sackfuls of cash from our city in recent years by cutting our grant to the bone and we should not be doffing our caps when they give a fraction back

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The reliance on grants from Government is what dropped the city in the financial brown stuff in the first place, allowing the then Tory administration to freeze council tax and buy votes.

Now the income barely covers the sandwich bill at the Town Hall and the city is virtually bankrupt.

Our city council leader has a plan to save cash, he wants to ‘manage care demand down,’ meaning your elderly nanna might not get her shopping done anymore.

And the streets will need a good wash and if you want a hydrotherapy pool for rehabilitation, you can whistle for it – four and half thousand disabled people who used the facility in Peterborough are still waiting for news of an alternative, over six months since the council announced that they were draining the pool.

I am not being negative; I am being real. I have lived and worked in this city since 1989 and I hope that this Yorkshire lad has contributed something positive to the city over those years, either in a nightclub or on the radio.

Because I have been so invested for so long, I care when I see self-interest put before the needs of the city and those who need help.

Peterborough is not the thriving city that it was, or should be, whatever ‘the management’ locally and nationally tell you – but it could be.

Do not accept what you are told, use your own eyes, and draw your own opinions from what you see and feel. Those in charge recoil at criticism, a sure-fire sign that you have a hit a nerve.

Rise up Peterborians and take charge of your destiny – your city needs you to start a conversation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Paul Stainton is a PR/communications specialist and former BBC Radio Cambridgeshire presenter.

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