Developer’s anger as council shuns its cinema-led plans for Peterborough’s North Westgate

This image shows how Hawksworths North Westgate, with cinema, could appear, but Peterborough City Council prefers its own non-cinema initiative.

This image shows how Hawksworths North Westgate, with cinema, could appear, but Peterborough City Council prefers its own non-cinema initiative.

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A developer has hit out at Peterborough City Council plans to go it alone with a multi-million pound regeneration of North Westgate.

Peter Breach, chairman of Hawksworth Securities, says he can have “cranes on the ground” in a year’s time to start work on his £100 million cinema-led homes, leisure and retail development for the 10 acre North Westgate site.

Although the plans were granted outline approval by councillors last year, Mr Breach claimed his scheme had been made unviable because planners had also given the go-ahead for a rival cinema-led development in the neighbouring Queensgate shopping centre.

He unsuccessfully sought a High Court judicial review into the way the council handled the planning process for the two applications.

Now he has been angered by council leader Cllr John Holdich’s announcement last week that the local authority intends to invest £15 million over three years to buy up land and property and push ahead with the regeneration of North Westgate.

Mr Breach said: “With council support, I can have cranes on the ground to start work in a year.”

In a letter to the PT, Mr Breach states: “To hear that council officers are now proposing to withdraw promised support and thereby frustrate development consented by council members is more than disturbing and appears to advantage one scheme at the cost of the other.”

He said the development would still include a cinema and added: “Cinemas within shopping centres do not have a record of success.”

He said: “The leader referred to ‘developer after developer coming up with grand plans to regenerate it only for them to fall by the wayside’. This statement is only partly true. Hawksworth has not fallen by the wayside.”

But Cllr Holdich said: “He has been around for 15 years and has done nothing with this site.

“The council is not prepared to sit back and let this drift on.

“Hawksworth can still be a part of this, but the council will lead it.

“Work could start in two years – and the development will not have a cinema.”