EMPLOYMENT: Projects promise jobs to end worrying trend

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A PREDICTED jobs boom in Peterborough is expected to make a rising unemployment trend a thing of the past.

A PREDICTED jobs boom in Peterborough is expected to make a rising unemployment trend a thing of the past.Although there were 200 more unemployed people in the city in 2005 compared to the

previous year, the city is on the edge of a major regeneration.

Several ambitious developments, worth hundreds of millions of pounds, are expected to be completed within the next 20 years, bringing with them at least 17,000 jobs.

Cllr John Holdich, city council cabinet member for housing, regeneration and growth, said the planned 150 million South Bank and 350 million North Westgate developments, together with the 500 million Gateway Project in the west of the city would create many new posts in the coming years.

"We are working hard to create opportunities for the city's workers," said Cllr Holdich.

"Major regeneration plans will create at least 17,000 jobs on a range of initiatives over the next few years.

"The council works with organisations such as Opportunity Peterborough and business leaders in ensuring potential investors are given the best possible support in creating and keeping jobs in the city."

However, Liberal Democrat Darren Fower believes increasing unemployment is a cause for concern.

The city's unemployment rate increased to 2.58 per cent in 2005, from 2.3 per cent the previous year. The national average for the same period was 2.3 per cent.

Cllr Fower said: "We keep hearing that Peterborough will be a great place in 20 years' time, but what this city needs is action now. What we have are unemployed people, and a disproportionate level of unskilled jobs in this city."

Where the regeneration will take place

As part of the Government's M11 corridor, Peterborough is committed to creating 17,500 new jobs – with the population increasing to more than 200,000 – by 2020.

Development includes:

>The 200 million Gateway project, at Orton Southgate, which will see a commercial park built with distribution centres, warehouses and offices – 2,500 jobs.

>The 300 million North Westgate project – a pedestrianised hub of retail, leisure and entertainment.

>The multi-million pound South Bank development, to include a river walkway, restaurants, bars, leisure facilities and 500 homes.

>The Station Quarter revamp, which includes new flagship offices, homes, and retail development associated with the station, plus a transport interchange.