City is a magnet for top retailers - Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich

Cllr John Holdich
Cllr John Holdich

My wife would be first to say that my perfect Saturday isn’t one spent shopping, but Peterborough is fast building an enviable reputation for attracting top name retailers looking to open new stores here.

Research published this month highlighted Peterborough as the number one area for offering the best prime opportunities for retailers in England and Wales.

The city was highlighted as being good value for occupiers and an area where businesses were considering opening a new, or even their first, store in the city. We are already witnessing this positive trend in the city’s shopping centres. In recent months, 11 new brands have been added to Queensgate including MAC Cosmetics and Pandora, Ann Summers and New Look have all opened larger stores.

Food fans have been flocking to sample the Caribbean flavours of the Turtle Bay restaurant which sits looking out onto St John’s Square and this will soon be joined a few metres away by Charles Well’s Pizza, Pots and Pints and Middletons Steakhouse on Bridge Street which opens at the start of September.

The city council has further enhanced Peterborough’s offer to retailers through its major public realm regeneration project to improve the look and feel of the city centre.

While Queensgate is well underway with their multi-million pound improvement programme, the redevelopment of Serpentine Green in Hampton is looking great with Next set to open an expanded store this month and a new M&S Foodhall opening. What was known as Peterborough Garden Park has been renamed Peterborough One Retail Park this summer with Kiddicare opening a new store.

Peterborough has a population approaching 200,000 and a retail catchment approaching one million people according to the Office of National Statistics. With all these new retail outlets and shops opening then more jobs are created and this further triggers economic growth in the city.

I hope you agree that we have many wonderful, lovely areas in the city including a number of award-winning parks and this brings me onto my final topic.

Central Park, Itter Park, Manor Farm Park and Victoria Gardens have all been named as some of the best parks to visit in the UK - yet again!

These parks have successfully retained the national Green Flag status and when you visit them you will see why they have achieved this accolade. The immaculately kept Peterborough Crematorium also retained the status.

This is a boost to Peterborough’s environmental credentials and plaudits must go to Amey who maintain these parks on behalf of the council.

Investment in our parks and green spaces is an area we work hard to maintain under tight financial pressures as we know how important they are to the Peterborough community and visitors to the city.

We just have to make sure we all work together so these areas and others are kept clean and tidy for all to enjoy. I know of people in my ward who do this and these are the kinds of people we recognise each year in the council’s Civic Awards.

Nominations are now open for the 2018 Peterborough Civic Awards.

This is your chance to give people who go out of their way to give back to the community their moment in the limelight by putting their name forward for a Peterborough Civic Award.

There is a range of categories for people to be entered in, including for community involvement, business, sport, and art and culture.

This will be the third year these awards have been held.

So, if you want to highlight the selfless dedication of a friend, relative or colleague then now is the time to do it.

Nominations forms are available from the council’s website and the closing date is at the end of October.