New Peterborough market ‘not commercially viable’ in Northminster regeneration

Keeping a market at Northminster as part of a major regeneration of the area is not “commercially viable,” according to the person responsible for the scheme.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 1:49 pm

Howard Bright, principal development manager at the Peterborough Investment Partnership (PIP), said the need to demolish the existing city market and produce a new one from scratch meant that the proposal could not be included in the 350 home project for the city centre site.

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Peterborough City Market

The decision to remove the market has angered stallholders who have previously been promised by the city council that Peterborough will retain a market in future years.

Reacting after the Northminster plans were revealed last week, a council spokesperson said the authority is “currently exploring future options for a market elsewhere in the city centre to complement the city centre retail and leisure offer long-term and as part of its broader regeneration plans for the city”.

PIP is a joint venture between the council and investment specialists IAGH3 which was tasked with delivering a scheme for Northminster.

And although the future of a market in Peterborough is not part of its remit, Mr Bright responded to questions on the subject during an interview with the Peterborough Telegraph.

Outlining the process for how the scheme - which, subject to planning permission, will include shared outdoor space and a likely food and drink offering - was drawn up, he said: “We did look at whether the site should have a market on it. One of the potential uses was for an artisan market.

“The short version is we couldn’t find a way to deliver a market on the site that would be attractive to investors, and because of that it hasn’t been included in the scheme.

“We can’t just have ambition (for the scheme) - it has to be deliverable. And we couldn’t make the scheme commercially viable with it.”

A lack of certainty over the commercial return from building a new market would influence the potential to access finance for the entire Northminster regeneration, Mr Bright explained.

He added: “We want to deliver a really interesting scheme which will benefit the city and benefit that area, and compromises are always made.”