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