Peterborough’s new Bridge Street market ‘gondolas’ get green light

Three new ‘Gondolas’ which will house market traders in Bridge Street have been approved by city council planners despite a debate over the design.

By Rob Alexander
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 10:22 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 11:33 am
The latest artist's impression of the Bridge Street market Gondolas
The latest artist's impression of the Bridge Street market Gondolas

The three new ‘Gondolas’ that will house four stalls each and make up the new open-air Bridge Street market have had their planning application approved.

Members of the city council Planning and Environmental Protection Committee gave the go-ahead despite last-minute confusion over their design.

Speaking at the meeting (Tuesday, January 25) David Turnock from Peterborough Civic Society said: “While the society broadly supports the new market and feels that Bridge Street is the correct location for it, we are at a loss to understand why the designs being put before the committee today are not those that were approved by the stall-holders in December.

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The latest artist's impression of the Bridge Street market Gondolas when closed.

“I understand today’s meeting is to get approval, if possible, for the 12 stalls on the application, so I would say let’s get it approved but with the right drawings so there is no confusion about what we are approving should the matter arise in the future.

“We want to support this new market in every way that we can and help with its prosperity in the future, whether that be with 3 so-called ‘Gondolas’ or six or ten; we simply want Peterborough market to succeed.”

The confusion arose when members were shown artist’s impressions of the ‘Gondolas’ both open and occupied and shut when closed.

These appeared to differ from the original artist’s impressions that were shown to prospective stallholders in December.

David Turnock from Peterborough Civic Society.

Cllr Christian Hogg asked: “Do you feel that 12 units is sufficient to replace the market that we currently have?”

Mr Turnock replied: “Plainly, if you were going to offer a new market stall to every trader that you have at the moment that would be 27-29 units.

“I do understand that several market stallholders were not paying their rent and you cannot afford to give anybody a unit for free.

“I would like to the proposal for 12 to double very quickly to 24 so that we have a hardcore of traders who will make the lower end of Bridge Street a very desirable place to go.”

Ian Philips, Senior Policy Manager for Peterborough City Council.

Cllr Hogg came back: “Are you saying that you would rather us approve this application on the basis of the design that is before us today, because we cannot approve something on the basis that there is some missing information that may or may not come before us at a future date?

Mr Turnock replied: “What I can’t understand councillor, is why you have not been presented with the correct drawings after the market traders – who are your tenants – have agreed a design and that is not before you today.

“I don’t wish to delay matters and stop the regeneration of our city happening; but it’s got to be done in the right way.

“There’s no point giving a trader a stall that he doesn’t like – if that trader has paid his rent over thirty-odd years he knows how to operate a market stall – currently he is saying to you the plans in front of you don’t work.”

Cllr Ishfaq Hussain asked: “Are we saying that if we approve this application the structure that the market traders will get will be the one that they have agreed to, or the newer design?”

Ian Philips, Senior Policy Manager for Peterborough City Council responded: “We’re continuously working with the traders to ensure they have a design which works for their needs.

“So, yes, the design will be modified from the proposals that you have but only ‘tweaked’ in quite a minor way and not a substantial change.

“As far as I am aware these modified plans have been discussed and there have been no objections to them.”

Despite the confusion over the final agreed design of the ‘Gondolas’ members of the committee unanimously approved the planning application leaving the path clear for construction to begin.