Local patriarch Peter Boizot, founder of Pizza Express, owner of the Great Northern Railway Tavern and former owner of Peterborough United Football Club comments on the work carried out to refurbish Cathedral Square Peterborough. Broadcast at 07:35 on Tuesday 8th June 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Show hosted by Paul Stainton on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
PAUL: Many people have had their say about Cathedral Square over the past few months. And now Peterborough’s most prominent businessman says the new Square is an eyesore. The amount of litter has been criticised by former Peterborough United owner Peter Boizot who joins me on the line this morning. Good morning Peter.
PETER: Good morning Paul.
PAUL: I walked round there yesterday. I thought it looked alright actually, you know. The fountains are on, but I was a bit disappointed they weren’t doing any dancing or anything, but their either on or off, but apart from that I thought it was Ok.
PETER: I think it depends how you judge fountains really. To see that line-up of fountains is frankly not my cup of tea. And it does change colour of course at night. But the time it took to install these fountains, and the work is still not finished, which beats me. There was no consultation with the residents and businesses prior to starting the work. What are we going to finish up with? There’s no greenery. There are no trees.
PAUL: Well I’m with you there Peter. There should have been some greenery. I’ve campaigned for this many times.
PETER: Well jolly good. Keep on campaigning. Trees or bushes. They’ve got the most unstylish seats which hold the water after a shower. You’ve got those ugly grey litter-bins, which I don’t go for, although we need litter-bins.
PAUL: Sponsored by Coca-Cola I believe.
PETER: And with all that water going up, what’s it going to be like after strong winds?
PAUL: Yes. I went round yesterday, as I said. I had a good walk round, spent ten minutes looking at the fountains. A bit disappointed they don’t do any dancing or anything like other places. And the benches, you’re right, were covered in water after a shower. They were covered in water.
PETER: Not good.
PAUL: We are going to get some greenery though, Peterborough, once the former Corn Exchange site is finished on the other side of the church.
PETER: Yes, well of course that’s taking a time. The men don’t seem .. I’m very fond of the British worker .. but these chaps don’t seem to be working with much of a will. And they don’t seem to be working long hours. They could be working later, and on different holidays and things like that. Then they’ve got a lot of metal grills which will be a danger to women with high-heels. I can see some trouble there.
PAUL: We musn’t discriminate Peter. Some men like to wear high-heels too.
PETER: Yes. (LAUGHS) That’s right.
PAUL: So your biggest gripe is just the way it looks, and the time it’s took to get there?
PETER: Yes. And they’ve got these stone squares. The stone squares they’ve got there collect litter and stains. St Johns Square is taking an age. I haven’t seen a plan for it. I have been told there’s some grass going in.
PAUL: Yes. It looks quite nice Peter, to be honest. You’re a stylish guy, Peter. we’ve seen you walking around Cathedral Square. You’re dresed up to the nines, going for lunch. You’ve got a certain joi de vivre about you. What would you have done with Cathedral Square?
PETER: Well I would just have had a little bit more put into the design of it. It is not quite my cup of tea. And in winter is it likely to freeze over, and be a danger? I don’t know. And there’s not much evidence of the management who’s running it. I’d have liked to have known a bit more about it.
PAUL: Well we’ll find out whether the people of Peterborough agree with you this morning Peter. That was Peter Boizot, former Peterborough United owner, Peterborough’s most prominent businessman of course, a former owner of Pizza Express, and various other things in Peterborough. Do you agree with him? Does it look a mess? Or are you happy with the finished product now it’s done? …. As I say, I walked around it yesterday, and I’ve been away, so .. it was finished while I was away. I’m just a bit … dunno .. the water goes high, and you think, that’s alright (WHISTLES) .. then it goes low, and you think, that’s alright .. (WHISTLES) ..and then it goes off. That’s sort of it.