19 retailers eye up Peterborough move to fill John Lewis gap

Peterborough will ‘bounce back’ from the loss of its flagship John Lewis store with a queue of retailers interested in moving into the city, according to the council leader.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 11:30 am

Cllr John Holdich said 19 retailers have expressed an interesting in wanting to open a shop in Peterborough, with many doing so after rumours began circulating that John Lewis would be closing its outlet in Queensgate.

Cllr Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said expansion of the city centre - which is being backed by money from the Government’s Towns Fund - as well as interest from well known brands will make sure Peterborough is in a strong position going forward.

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John Lewis exteriors at Queensgate EMN-210324-141206009

He said: “Since the Towns Fund money has come in we’ve had 19 enquiries from retailers wanting to come.

“That started in the main when rumours about John Lewis started. That’s when people said they’d be interested in moving in. They sense an opportunity. We must be positive and look forward. The future’s bright.”

He added: “We can’t replace John Lewis but the high street will improve and be more diverse.

“The new retailers would be a good fillip for the city. They are high street names, but they would be smaller shops. However, you’ll never fill John Lewis with one name.

“One of the problems John Lewis had as I understand is their main customers came from out of town.

“Peterborough is changing and we will change with it. The new cinema (at Queensgate) will attract people into the city. It will take a year or two years to get an exciting offering into Peterborough again, but it will be there.

“I’ve got confidence from the amount of people enquiring that we will have a more diverse offer that won’t be affected by the market in the future.”

Funding from the Towns Fund will include money towards a new library and culture hub in Bridge Street, called The Vine, as well as new bridge over the River Nene between the city’s new university and the Fletton Quays development, and a redevelopment around Peterborough Station.