Opinion: ‘We want a city market long-term’
Peterborough City Council leader Wayne Fitzgerald gives his view on the council and news and issues affecting you...
In the past few years our city centre has been transformed with new life breathed into Cathedral Square, Bridge Street, St John’s Square and many other areas.
But our work is not yet done, with the likes of the Embankment, Northminster, the station quarter and North Westgate still to be regenerated.
I want to see these developments move forward quickly, so I was pleased to see exciting plans announced by the Peterborough Investment Partnership (PIP) for the redevelopment of Northminster this week.
It’s an area of the city that has been underutilised for such a long time, so it is great to see images of what it could become in the next few years – an attractive place for people to live and spend time.
As well as people welcoming the news, it has also led to some of our market traders who currently occupy part of the Northminster site expressing concern about their future.
I am here to tell them that the market is safe in the council’s hands.
Yes, the market won’t remain where it is as that site is earmarked for redevelopment in the Local Plan and is a prime location for regeneration – we have been honest about that for some time.
However, we see the benefits of having a market in the city and we want that to continue.
Therefore, we are in the process of looking for alternative sites for a market to complement the other retail and leisure options and to make sure Peterborough remains a place that people want to spend time and visit. This work began at the start of last year, but the pandemic hampered our efforts, as I am sure you can understand.
I will be visiting the market this Friday with Peterborough MP Paul Bristow to speak to traders and reassure them that we want to see a market in the city long-term.
The redevelopment of Northminster, being led by the PIP, will include 350 homes with leisure and retail opportunities too. PIP has a very good track record in the city, with Fletton Quays now home to new residents, businesses and one of the few Government hubs in the country.
We want to see that same transformation of Northminster and many other parts of the city that we have earmarked for regeneration.
You can have your say on the proposals ahead of a planning application being submitted later in the year – find out more at www.northminster-peterborough.co.uk.
But it’s not just the city centre that we are investing in; I want to see improvements made across the whole city.
This week we’ve announced plans for a £4.4million redevelopment of Lincoln Road between Windmill Street and Searjeant Street.
We’ve known for some time this area has needed money spending on it and thanks to the Government’s Towns Fund we can now do something about it. We’ll be spending £2.5million from the Towns Fund and the council will be putting in £1.9million as well.
Cycle and pedestrian paths will be upgraded, there’ll be new public areas with outdoor dining/retail opportunities for local businesses and more trees and greenery.
A key part of the plans is to extend the cafe culture that we are developing in the city centre by offering businesses the chance to apply for pavement licences.
Overall, it will make the area easier and more attractive to walk and cycle around, creating a nicer and healthier experience for residents, shoppers and visitors. The more people we can get out of their cars and enjoying their local area, the more we can reduce traffic flow and support the city’s carbon zero pledge.
Public consultation on the plans will begin soon, with the project expected to be implemented in 2022/23. I’ll let you know when people are able to have their say as part of the consultation.
Another way we want to reduce our carbon footprint is by encouraging more taxi drivers to make the switch to electric vehicles and to support those who have already done so.
From this week we are offering free charging for all taxi drivers licensed with the council. Four 50kw rapid chargers have been installed for taxi use only on the street in taxi pick-up locations at Northminster, Midgate, Viersen Platz in the city centre and also in Rivergate car park.
Taxi drivers will be able to access the Podpoint app to get up to three hours a week free charging in the next six months. Any extra charging will be discounted. They will also be able to get the same deal at any public charge point in the city.
This is just the latest in the expanding network of electric vehicle chargers in the city.
I want to see charging points installed in our townships as well – places like the Ortons, Hamptons, Paston, Bretton, Walton – to make it as easy as possible for people to run electric vehicles.
As leader it is my overriding ambition to make Peterborough an even better place to live and work.
We are developing and regenerating our city, but we are also making sure we’re improving our environment – reducing air pollution, reducing energy use and working towards changing behaviours.
It’s a huge challenge, but together we can achieve it.