£ 6m over? Is it a yel­low brick road?

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Paul Stainton - Paul Stain­ton The man be­hind the mic

It’s not every day of the week that Cilla Black’s name pops into your head when you sit down to scrib­ble a few words, but this week it did.

Not be­cause of the Liver­pool crooner’s back cat­a­logue or her pen­chant for fine hats, no, this had more to do with her tele­vi­sion ca­reer and one show in par­tic­u­lar: “Sur­prise Sur­prise,” a phrase that time and again this week has leapt into my brain from the an­nals of 80’s TV his­tory.

When I saw the head­line; “El­ton’s Posh get to­gether,” I thought it was just an­other ma­li­cious head­line, in­volv­ing a Spice Girl; Imag­ine how stag­gered I was when I re­alised that Mr John was in­stead bring­ing his pi­ano and se­lec­tion of fine wigs to the ABAX sta­dium for a big gig next sum­mer.

I thought I had seen it all at Lon­don road; Mike Tyson’s stare, Mr Blobby’s pitch in­va­sion and even a Barry Fry team that won a game, but this is dif­fer­ent class.

I just hope that this is the first of many star names that can be at­tracted to the venue, and that there is enough room in the hos­pi­tal­ity tent for all of our lo­cal coun­cilors.

Some of them may not have re­cov­ered in time from the shock of dis­cov­er­ing that the widen­ing works on the Flet­ton park­way have come in £6 mil­lion over bud­get, I know it will take me a while to get over that stun­ning piece of in­for­ma­tion.

It’s all been blamed on un­fore­seen naughty things in the ground which, ap­par­ently, no­body could have guessed were there, un­less of course they had dug a few holes or asked around a bit.

Now I am sure that every­thing has been in­ves­ti­gated and that it is all above board.

In the past con­trac­tors and de­vel­op­ers have been ac­cused of see­ing pub­lic money com­ing and tripling the price, but I am sure that this did not hap­pen on this oc­ca­sion.

Any­way, we were all as­sured that lessons had been learned from the Cathe­dral Square fi­asco, so per­haps Peter­bor­ough is just un­lucky when it comes to bud­gets and stick­ing to them.

We are told that the money will come out of the “rainy day” fund, as if that some­how makes it all ok. It doesn’t.

That is your money and it will have to be put back out of your coun­cil tax.

The same coun­cil tax which pays for CCTV in the city, a sys­tem which doesn’t seem to work that well on Long Cause­way, be­cause of a lack of cam­eras, over­hang­ing trees and lamp posts.

That’s what Cllr Dar­ren Fower was told last week when some lo­cal ne’er do well “half inched” his wheels and left him to walk home from a coun­cil meet­ing.

The po­lice were not in­ter­ested ei­ther and didn’t think it was the best use of their time, go­ing through the pic­tures, just to catch a bike thief.

I know that their re­sources are stretched, but isn’t that their pri­mary func­tion, to in­ves­ti­gate crime and bring the per­pe­tra­tors to jus­tice, even if it is a bit tricky?

I mean they didn’t give up on Ronnie Biggs just be­cause he went sun­bathing in South Amer­ica and I don’t re­mem­ber them throw­ing in the towel when they couldn’t read Dr Ship­man’s writ­ing.

In the mean­time, “our Dar­ren” re­mains bike­less, and the thief is “avin’ a lorra, lorra, laughs” at our ex­pense.

No sur­prise there.

BBC Ra­dio Cam­bridgeshire’s Paul Stain­ton writes for the Peter­bor­ough Tele­graph

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