Opinion: What next for city after John Lewis closure? Should Queensgate opening hours change?

Peterborough Telegraph readers have their say on the issues facing the city centre in the wake of the announcement that John Lewis is set to close...

Monday, 5th April 2021, 1:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 11:47 am
John Lewis at Queensgate.

“Where to now for Peterborough city centre now John Lewis is never going to reopen? The city centre has had years and years of mismanagement, under investment etc, call it what you like.

“We moved to Peterborough in 1991 just after Rivergate opened. What has evolved since?

“For too long John Lewis was the jewel in the crown of the Queensgate Centre which opened an incredible 40 years ago and put Peterborough firmly in the driving seat. But sadly the decline set in years ago, while other city centres like Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Nottingham, Lincoln evolved to offer the visitor much more than just shopping.

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“All these agencies involved are only now starting to get their act together with the new university etc, we are years and years behind, Northampton got its campus, new bus station, train station a few short years ago.

“The riverside walks and leisure facilities in Cambridge are so much more attractive, don’t mention Peterborough Market, if ever there was a case of mismanagement that is it.

“The council has allowed too many betting shops, charity shops, discount shops, tattoo shops, phone shops etc outside of Queensgate. Take John Lewis away and what is left in the city centre for that customer.

“The cafe culture, the museum, the embankment, the market. Really!

“The Hampton Centre, the Brotherhood Retail Park, the Bretton Centre, the Orton Centre are serving their customer base, people will now have nothing to come into the city centre for.

“Cambridge John Lewis is staying open, I want to see the local councillors put on the spot by the media as to why our city centre has declined so shockingly in the last 15 years.

“We had in the 60s and 70s with the development corporation a vision and the foresight to see it blossom. No plans were put in place to further that amazing development.

“For too long the city centre has stagnated while our rival cities have evolved.

“Rushden Lakes is a wonderful venue for shopping and leisure with green spaces. Our riverside is a wasteland, there is nothing for the family. The New Road bowling alley and bars etc all boarded up.

“Car parking is an issue, £3.50 for two to three hours in the car park behind the old town hall, £2 for a 30 minute stay in the city centre streets, 30 minutes! “By the time you have queued in the bank, got a takeaway coffee you have got a ticket.

“We need a city centre fit for purpose, that works for people who live, work and shop there.”

- Peter Hawker, Peterborough

“Given the news about John Lewis, is it time that Queensgate and others reconsidered their opening hours?

“The lockdown over the last year has accelerated the purchasing of goods online but the usefulness of being able to buy locally shouldn’t be overestimated.

“I know of shopping centres in Europe that are open 9am-9pm, Monday to Saturday. Why can’t we do this here?”

- John Airey, Peterborough

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