When will Cathedral Square be Finished?

Cathedral Square and St John’s Square Peterborough are in the process of being renovated, and some of the work has over-run by more than a year, and is still not complete. A caller with a lifetime’s experience in the building trade says from what he has seen the contractors Osborne may need to crack on, if they are to get the work done within the revised timescale discussed by Andrew Edwards, namely the second week in January. And he thinks that some completed work may need to be redone.

PAUL STAINTON: A few moments ago we were speaking to Andrew Edwards from Peterborough City Council, and he was saying that Cathedral Square, St John’s Square, would be totally finished by the second week of January. And I mentioned to him that I walked through St John’s Square on some of the new paving in front of the church a couple of days ago, and I was just appalled by the quality of workmanship. I felt it was awful. And there were holes in it. And he said they were left there purposely. Well we’ve got Barry. .. Barry is on the line. He’s worked in construction for years, Barry from Yaxley. Morning Barry.
PS: So they’ve laid these paving slabs, and said they’d to put some expansion material in between the slabs, so they’ve purposely left holes. So that’s how you do it, is it, Barry?
BY: Well that is true. There is expansion joints along the road. I’m referring to the part from Yorkshire Bank down to HSBC bank. There are expansion joints that run across the road, but also there are lots and lots and lots of blocks that need pulling up and re-laying. Because they’re trip hazards. There’s gaps where the jointing hasn’t been put in them properly. And I think that if they started the remedial work now, they wouldn’t be finished the second week in January. Also they’ve got a problem with levels down there, by the record shop, HMV record shop. Because when the fountains are running the water runs across the road almost into the doorway of HMV.
PS: Yes I’ve noticed that. Yes.
BY: So if the fountains were going on a day like today, when you’ve got some frost, then you’re going to have a dozen people going to hospital with broken bones slipping over on it. I think the job is appalling. The amount of time they’ve been there, it should have been right.
PS: Yes. And your experience Barry? Just tell us where you’re coming from.
BY: Well I’m a carpenter joiner by trade, but I’ve been in site management as well for quite a number of years, and I’ve been in the construction industry now for fifty five years. So I do know a little bit about what I’m talking about.
PS: Perhaps they should have employed you Barry. (LAUGHTER) So you’re saying from Yorkshire Bank to HSBC, which is quite a stretch, goes past Barclays, and all that, and Greggs the Bakers, I know it fairly well, how much of that needs pulling up?
BY: I would say at least a third of it.
PS: At least a third, because of trip hazards and everything else. Have you been past on the new bit, by St John’s Church there?
BY: I walked round it, but the Heras Fencing was still up the other day when I walked round it. So I’ve not been since they moved that.
PS: They spotted me. One of the contractors said: “Hey up. Shhh. It’s that bloke from the radio. They’re keeping tabs”. (LAUGHTER) But it’s not great is it, and we were all hoping this would be finished months and months and months ago. They’ve been on it a heck of a long time. And even Andrew Edwards said they’re going to have to pull a lot of it up. And you’re saying even more of it has to be pulled up? In your experience then, fifty five years you’ve been in the building trade, how long before all the work’s finished, if they do it right this time, how long do you think it will take to get it all open and all right?
BY: Well it depends on the manpower they put in there. There seems to be more men about there now than there was on the run-in to the lights switch-on. There seems to be quite a few men working about there. But if they just put a small gang of men, say half a dozen men, on there, then I think there’s a good month to six weeks remedial work along that stretch alone, without thinking about anything that’s cracked and broken. Just to re-lay the blockwork that I don’t think is up to scratch.
PS: Barry, thank you for your expert opinion this morning. Have you left your number, just in case we need a patio doing?
PS: He’s Barry from Yaxey, fifty five years he’s been working in the construction industry, and he thinks that stretch from Yorkshire Bank to HSBC, a third of it needs pulling up, because it’s not been laid right. And he should know, shouldn’t he?