Peterborough cafe, bar and restaurant owners ready to welcome back people to city centre
Cafe owners in Peterborough city centre have said they are ready to welcome back people to the city centre as the next phase of lockdown restrictions are eased.
With the government’s announcement that Step Two of the national roadmap to the lifting of lockdown will go ahead on 12 April, the city centre will once again open its doors to visitors looking to enjoy its wide range of retailers.
As part of their return to the city’s shops, shoppers will also be able to enjoy the first phases of the council’s ‘café culture’ approach to Peterborough’s city centre.
Four concept Covid-19-safe pods and outdoor seating areas will be opened between April and June in Cathedral Square, St John’s Square, Bridge Street and Westgate.
A number of businesses have already applied for pavement licences including Argo Lounge, Côte Brasserie, Five Guys, Pizza Express, Prezzo and the Queens Head, plus many more already have pavement licences.
As well as a great selection of places to eat drink and shop, visitors to the city centre will also enjoy free parking in council-owned car parks from 12-18 April.
Eve Warner, owner, The Lightbox Café, said: “We’ve got our awning, outdoor furniture and new menu ready for 12 April and we will be installing a much wider awning and some really nice terrace furniture, to make it feel like you’re in a café in France or Italy.
“The fees for the pavement licence being dropped has been fantastic as it allows us to operate without those additional costs.
“The council and Positive Peterborough have been fantastic and the grants that have been made available have been a real lifeline. From our perspective, all of the schemes that have been put in place to help us have been administered really well and have allowed us to survive this.”
Dom Brewin, General Manager, Argo Lounge, said: “Our new outside furniture and planters have arrived and I’m looking forward to welcoming the community back into our fantastic city.
“I think the Café Culture approach can help the area around Cathedral Square to be a more popular location for both local residents and visitors to the city alike.
“The council and Peterborough Positive have been supportive and helped me to engage with other businesses in the city, with our number one priority being to ensure our guests can enjoy a safe dining experience.”
Gareth Norman of Bean Around BE.AR, said: “We now have new furniture and lighting installed, ready to welcome back customers on 12 April.
“We contacted the council to see if we could put a covered area up and the café culture approach fits in perfectly with the idea. I would love to do this long-term, particularly if it can help the night-time economy.
“I’ve travelled extensively throughout Europe and there are few places with a central square, or piazza, as large as the one we have here in Peterborough. I really want to see it reach its full potential where customers can enjoy the square and eat and drink inside or outside, whatever the weather.”
The re-opening of the city centre is being coordinated by the Peterborough Positive, a partnership comprising Peterborough City Council, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Opportunity Peterborough and large outlets like Queensgate Shopping Centre.
When the city centre does reopen for business, residents will be encouraged to shop locally to help support retailers, as well as to take notice of the social distancing signage, to be polite and courteous to each other, to shop staff and to our volunteer marshals.
Tom Hennessy, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough, said: “We are working closely with businesses to ensure the safe and successful re-opening of non-essential shops.
“We are fortunate in Peterborough that our economy is strong which should help our retailers who have been heavily impacted with a loss of trade over the last year.”
Speaking on behalf of Peterborough Positive, Kelly Linay, said: “The re-opening of non-essential retailers is hugely important for the city. It’s vital that we now look to the future and work with businesses to encourage customers to shop local and support the local economy.”