Two years on from the Har­vest Fes­ti­val - what’s the legacy?

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - LEE CLARKE -

This week­end will see the world of athletics re­turn to Lon­don, and the Olympic Sta­dium, once more for the World Cham­pi­onships as we get an­other chance to see the best ath­letes around com­pete for medals, world records and the right to call them­selves the best.

It has be­come a com­mon ques­tion in the wake of the Olympic Games – what is the legacy plan? It was a cru­cial fac­tor post-Lon­don 2012 and has seen the Olympic Sta­dium be­come the new home of West Ham United, while other fa­cil­i­ties have been used for tour­na­ments or opened to the pub­lic.

Well, we’re quickly com­ing up to our own mile­stone in Peter­bor­ough. It’s been two years since we hosted the Har­vest Fes­ti­val in the city cen­tre. Hun­dreds of peo­ple con­verged across that week­end to cel­e­brate the city and its con­nec­tion to the coun­try­side – I was proud to play my part that day and I can hon­estly say that it was a cru­cial mo­ment in me de­cid­ing to step out on my own.

The Har­vest Fes­ti­val was a huge suc­cess, and helped Metal (the arts or­gan­i­sa­tion Peter­bor­ough) win awards for their in­ge­nu­ity. The last­ing hope and legacy of the fes­ti­val was that it would launch Peter­bor­ough as a foodie hub in the re­gion – so how far have we come in that legacy af­ter two years? Well, there are pos­i­tives to be taken, but also work that is yet to be done.

New in­de­pen­dent bars like Stoneworks, Bum­ble Inn and Puz­zles have ex­panded the op­tions for those on a night out in Peter­bor­ough – all unique and quirky venues of­fer­ing a great se­lec­tion of drinks as well as spe­cial­ity nights of brew­ery takeovers or live mu­sic.

We have seen a sig­nif­i­cant growth in the se­lec­tion of restau­rants on offer in the city cen­tre, with Waga­mama and Tur­tle Bay most re­cently open­ing, as well as Mid­dle­tons Steak­house and a new pizza restau­rant/pub The Queen’s Head open­ing in the near fu­ture. Th­ese have of­fered us a lot of new, ex­cit­ing choices - but there are some ar­eas where I think we need to keep push­ing.

We still don’t yet have a weekly / monthly farm­ers mar­ket in Peter­bor­ough. This has al­ways been dis­cussed and has of­ten re­mained an idea, but it would be a great offer to lo­cal peo­ple and could en­cour­age visi­tors from out­ly­ing towns and vil­lages.

While the likes of Stoneworks and Puz­zles have boosted the in­de­pen­dent bar scene, there is still a need not only for more in­de­pen­dent of­fer­ings, but to sup­port those that al­ready ex­ist. Many in­de­pen­dent shops or restau­rants can’t typ­i­cally af­ford the higher rents that come with a prime spot on the Peter­bor­ough high street, which means we need to be will­ing to walk or drive that few min­utes longer to en­sure th­ese places con­tinue to thrive.

This is im­por­tant be­cause while the chains that have ar­rived in Peter­bor­ough have bol­stered the lo­cal scene in a num­ber ways – our in­de­pen­dents are just as vi­tal, and they rely on their cus­tomer’s and coun­cil’s sup­port to keep go­ing; whether that’s East, Pizza Par­lour, The Pasta Shop, Stoneworks, or our­selves. Let’s keep work­ing to­ward that legacy of great food across the city.

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