‘Firmer commitment’ needed for Peterborough market traders ahead of Northminster regeneration

A “firmer commitment” for Peterborough’s market traders is needed before plans to regenerate Northminster should proceed, according to Peterborough Civic Society.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 4:57 am

The voluntary group has submitted its views on proposals to build 353 affordable rental homes at the city centre location, on top of retail provision on the ground floor and a makeover of Laxton Square.

One of the main controversies of the scheme has been the decision not to include a market, meaning existing traders will need to be re-located, something Peterborough City Council has promised to do.

The proposals have been put together by the Peterborough Investment Partnership, a joint venture between the council and investment specialists IAGH3, which said the future of the market is not its responsibility.

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The proposed regeneration of Northminster
The proposed regeneration of Northminster

However, this has not placated the civic society, whose chairman David Turnock said: “Given that PIP is 50 per cent owned by Peterborough City Council then we find it hard to accept that the two issues shouldn’t be linked.

“We think a firmer commitment to market traders, and the citizens of Peterborough, should be in place before a planning application for the Northminster site can reasonably be submitted and considered.”

An application is due to be submitted next month following the end of a public consultation.

Commenting on the scheme as a whole, the civic society told PIP: “We are strongly of the view that your proposals are several storeys too high.

“We identified to you that the nearby Hereward Tower building is 10 storeys, Bayard Plaza is seven storeys and you are aware that the Solstice site on Northminster has recently been consented for a three and eight storey redevelopment.

“Your proposals for 12 and 13 storeys plus roof terraces and lift housings are, therefore, too high and should be reduced to a maximum of 10 floors so that it is no higher that Hereward Tower.”

The civic society said this would reduce the number of units to 250, which would be “more appropriate” and closer to the number of homes (150) which had been earmarked for Northminster in the council’s Local Plan.

Moreover, the civic society said it would “prefer to see more shops, cafés and restaurants at ground level in order to create an active street level frontage to the scheme,” and that it is critical a re-landscaped Laxton Square contains “small kiosks/pop-up stall areas to allow this public realm to be an area where residents of the city want to meet and socialise”.

It was recently announced that the 353 homes are set to be funded by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority through a £14 million grant.