Opinion: ‘Peterborough’s new market will be ‘must-see’ attraction’

Wayne Fitzgerald, city council leader and Conservative group leader on Peterborough City Council writes...

Sunday, 3rd October 2021, 11:45 am
Peterborough Market will move to Bridge Street.

Last week we announced that we’re looking at Bridge Street or possibly Lower Bridge Street as an alternative location for the city market.

The comments from the public on social media have been largely positive, with many welcoming the retention of a permanent market and the preference for it to be in the heart of the city centre.

I can see why people are happy – it would breathe new life into the market, traders and existing retailers in the city centre would benefit from increased footfall and it will be in a more central location for customers.

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We are still in the early stages of the relocation; a decision will be made in November following a period of consultation. However, we know that we would like to see bespoke stalls created along the centre of Bridge Street, with a food court launched in one of the retail units.

The market will continue to trade five days a week for existing traders that are relocating, and we will also be looking to attract new traders, on a one-day-a-week or part-time basis, as well as expanding and contracting the market on a seasonal basis to include a Vegan Week market, Christmas market or farmers’ market.

The city market will always be a feature of and an asset to our city. It offers residents good quality fresh produce at a good price. It is often a more environmentally friendly way of shopping.

What we are looking to do over the coming months is to build on this solid base to create a market which is a ‘must-see’ attraction for our city and a focal point for residents, visitors and tourists.

- I was pleased to attend the PT’s Apprenticeship Awards on Friday night to celebrate the rising talent in our business community.

It was also great to see Anglia Ruskin University’s School of Nursing Midwifery, Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care winning the award for Training Provider/Programme of the Year. I spent time talking to Professor Ross Renton, principal of our new university, which, of course, we are delivering with Anglia Ruskin. Nice to see that the provider of our university is already winning awards.

Apprenticeships are the perfect way to gain on-the-job experience, all whilst earning a wage, and we offer several opportunities as a council. The best place to look for these is www.citycollegepeterborough.ac.uk/apprenticeships

- The national driver shortage is evident for all to see. It’s affecting local services, notably school transport and waste services. Unfortunately, we have had to suspend brown bin collections until the new year so that we can prioritise the collection of black bin waste, recycling and food waste.

We will be emptying the existing brown bins that are already full from next week. You just need to leave your bin out on the right day. Customers will also receive a refund on their brown bin subscription from the council, for the 11 months of service which has not been provided.

This week the driver shortage has led to problems at the petrol pumps and we have seen motorists panic buying. Please stop buying fuel if you don’t need to – there is no shortage. You might recall the same thing happened last March when the shops ran out of toilet roll and pasta.

We’re being told the situation will not last long, so, in the meantime, please only buy fuel if your car is on low and you need to.

Today I shall be taking part in a round table discussion about how housebuilders can deliver 300,000 new homes a year and meet carbon and biodiversity targets.

I’ll be joined by Mayor of Cambridgeshire Dr Nik Johnson for the event hosted by housebuilder and developer Larkfleet Group. I’ll be speaking about how here in Peterborough we can deliver growth in line with our commitment to become carbon neutral.

Then, this weekend I will be off to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester to get the inside track on national policy and talk with some of the leading politicians, including the prime minister.

I’ll also be speaking about air quality and pollution as a guest of think tank Centre for Cities in a debate called ‘Holding your breath – how to clean up our cities’ air’.

We’re doing lots in Peterborough to improve air quality and we have a cross-party task and finish group dedicated to overseeing this work.

We have introduced an e-bike hire scheme in partnership with Voi and since January riders have replaced 3,000 short car journeys, cycling more than 30,000km.

This not only has prevented harmful air pollution, it has also saved nearly two tonnes CO2 that would have been emitted had the journeys been made by car.

We’re also working with some of our schools on School Streets projects, where a temporary road closure is put in place at the start and end of the school day. This reduces the idling of vehicles outside school gates and also encourages parents to leave the car at home and walk or cycle to school.

Air quality in Peterborough is very good compared to many places and we don’t exceed any of the National Air Quality Objectives. But we want to improve it as part of our commitment to tackle climate change and because of the damage we know that it does to people’s health.