Queensgate has defended its plans for new entrances to the shopping centre which have come in for criticism.
Concerns have been raised about proposals for new doors at Westgate Arcade and Cumbergate (near Carluccio’s) and a new design for the Cumbergate entrance.
The Peterborough Civic Society said the new-look Cumbergate entrance is “overbearing in relation to the adjacent listed buildings, one of which is one of only two remaining timberframed buildings in the city.”
The civic society and sustainable transport charity Sustrans have also said putting in doors at Cumbergate would block the route from Cumbergate to the Westgate Arcade, although Queensgate disputes this.
Commenting on the proposals which have been submitted to Peterborough City Council, the civic society said: “We are surprised that a door solution is being pursued despite the history of this issue. We recall that the idea of doors or of closing the through route between Cumbergate and the old arcade was proposed either at the time of the original proposals for the centre or subsequently.
“A public inquiry was held and the inspector determined that the right of way crossing the Queensgate Mall should remain a public right of way at all times.
“The civic society supports this view and considers that the problems of permeability created by the centre as a whole need to continue to be alleviated by the existence of this right of way.
“We note that there is no reference in the application to this right of way and the implications, both legal and practical, of blocking it off with
“We urge that, prior to determining this application, the council thoroughly investigates this issue.”
Sustrans commented: “At present, an unimpeded pedestrian route exists between Cumbergate and Westgate through Queensgate Shopping Centre.
“This has been in existence for some time and we therefore believe it to be a right of way. For this reason, access must be retained at all times.
“We are particularly concerned by the potential for the proposed doors to be locked, thereby removing a key desire line between Cumbergate and Westgate. This would result in increasing the difficulty and length of journey (in time and distance) for pedestrians to cross this part of the city.”
Queensgate has pointed out that it already puts shutters up once trading ends for the day at the shopping centre.
Centre director Mark Broadhead said: “The application to put a new entrance on the Cumbergate crossover forms part of Queensgate’s ongoing improvements and investment into the centre. These plans would create a more aesthetically pleasing and ‘signature’ entrance to Queensgate from Cumbergate.
“At the end of March, as part of our £8 million mall refurbishment programme, we will begin to replace all our doors leading into the shopping centre, and the new proposal would bring this area in line with the rest of the centre’s aspirational new look.
“It would also enable us to control the centre’s climate more effectively and improving energy efficiency.
“The ability to freely access Westgate Arcade and Queensgate would not change at all and will remain open to the public for late night trading and access to our retailers and restaurants, including handmade burger co. and Calcuccio’s.”