A partnership of Peterborough City Council, the Combined Authority, Opportunity Peterborough, the Peterborough Towns Fund and Peterborough MP Paul Bristow has been created to draft exciting proposals to attract shoppers and visitors to the city.
The action comes after department store chain John Lewis announced it is to close its store in the Queensgate shopping centre, a move that puts 318 jobs at risk.
Mr Bristow, who proposed the taskforce’s creation, said the new partnership would have three immediate priorities.
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They involve action to help John Lewis staff back into work with the provision of advice, training where needed and an active canvass of stores to ensure vacancies are filled by former John Lewis staff where possible.
Mr Bristow said: “We are also looking at ways to support the reopening of our retailers, cafes, bars and hospitality on April 12 and there will be various announcements in the coming days.”
Looking longer term, the taskforce will also create an ambitious and robust strategy to promote Peterborough and its benefits as an exciting destination for visitors.
Mr Bristow said: “We need to be far more effective in promoting Peterborough and its potential - making it a destination for quality retail, leisure and hospitality.”
“We need to make more of the city as we have great quality retail, the Cathedral, superb leisure facilities - for instance the Lido - great open space, such as at Ferry Meadows and the Nene Valley Railway.
“Visitors can come to Peterborough for a whole day, not just a few hours, and enjoy these attractions.
“We have to be far more enthusiastic and proud of our city and what it has to offer.
He added: “All our partners will be thinking positively and strategically about what to do to promote Peterborough as a destination for visitors.
“We can’t just hope people will come here. It is not a ‘nice to have’, it is an essential because we are in competition with the rest of the country for visitors, jobs, investment and tourism.”