The true extent of rural development plans revealed.

The Town Hall, Upper Bridge Street (1930 1933)...
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More threats to Peterborough‘s rural communities. It would seem that the Homes and communities Agency (HCA), which owns a significant amount of land in this corner of the shire, is slowly revealing its intentions for the wholesale development of the area.   

This is its objection to plans for cemetery allocation in the villages (See post dated 3 September 2010).   

Site C003 is in the ownership of the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) and forms part of a larger landholding belonging to the HCA at Castor & Ailsworth, having been in the ownership of the HCA’s predecessor bodies, English Partnerships, and the Commission for the New Towns. The HCA wishes to see this large landholding planned in a comprehensive manner to aid Peterborough’s ambitions for growth and considers that piecemeal development of the landholding for a cemetery at this stage would compromise the HCA’s aspirations for this site. The HCA therefore objects to the proposal to use C001 Land North of Peterborough Road and West of village of Ailsworth for Cemetery Provision without it being considered as part of a mixed use community at this site.   

Just in case you missed it, this is the signifcant bit: The HCA wishes to see this large landholding planned in a comprehensive manner to aid Peterborough’s ambitions for growth….   

We could be looking at development on the scale of Bretton or the Ortons. That was certainly the case in the 1970s before local opposition was able to fight off the developers. There will come a time when local opposition to development of this kind will have to re-crystalise or residents and other groups who don’t want this kind of rural development will be steam rollered by the HCA and the city council.   

To quote Heather O’Rourke in Poltergeist: ‘They’re here’.   

Reading with the kids improves literacy

Cover of "The Ghost of Thomas Kempe"
Cover of The Ghost of Thomas Kempe


It’s my son’s birthday today. He enjoys reading so among his presents are a couple of books about science and space.  

There’s no fiction though, the stuff we enjoy reading together at night. He asked me recently about books that I enjoyed as a child. There are so many it was impossible to give him a definitive answer. We have read many of them together already – The Narnia Chronicles, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Owl Service and so on.  

One in particular did spring to mind though – The Ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively. It won the Carnegie Medal for Children’s Literature in 1973. The edition I had as a child was a 1975 paperback edition from Piccolo – now long gone. I bought it in the school bookshop as a ten year-old – coincidently the same age as my son is today. I was attracted by the cover more than anything. It’s the story of a boy who moves to a cottage and gets the blame for the mischief caused by the eponymous troublesome spook.  

I thought ‘wouldn’t it be nice if I could find a copy of that to give to him.’ And I have – on the excellent Abe Books website. A quick trawl and three or four pages in I found the exact edition I was looking for (not the one pictured incidentally). I’ve lightened the wallet by the princely sum of £7.00 and the volume is on its way. I can’t wait to start reading it to him.  

Reading aloud to your child will help improve their literacy and encourage them to read themselves. There is no doubt about it. My children like to be read to – but they also enjoy reading to me, which is a relaxing way to end a busy day.