LETTER: Peterborough City councillors hit back at criticism
There were a number of errors of fact in the letter from Mr Alan Gasparutti published in last week's Peterborough Telegraph.
Midland Road - Mr Gasparutti states “lay derelict” and, as a result, “could have cost £15m in lost revenue”.
The council worked closely with housing developers to support its redevelopment. It is now a successful mixed tenure scheme, and part of the wider renaissance of this part of the city including the redevelopment of the former hospital site for housing and the new West Town Academy. As business premises, the rateable income was c.£66k per annum so it is unclear how the figure of £15m was arrived at.
Frobisher House - Mr Gasparutti states “left vacant”. This was not owned by the council and has recently been converted into flats.
Bretton Court - Mr Gasparutti states “lay vacant for 10 years”. That is untrue. The ground floor units are let and the upper parts were until relatively recently occupied by a charity. The upper parts are under offer to be used for social housing and a planning application has been submitted.
Orton Centre - Mr Gasparutti states the “revenue lost is breathtaking”. The building is not owned by the council and the basis for this statement is unclear. The council continues to work with the site owner to encourage further investment and the owner makes every effort to keep the buildings in use with business rates being received.
Former Freemans site, Ivatt Way - Mr Gasparutti states “left derelict”. The site has been fully occupied since Freemans surrendered the lease with rent and business rates received.
Despite the problems following the recession, the council has been constantly active, and successful, in attracting new business to the city. Of particular note is c£150m of external investment in Fletton Quays, the new restaurants around Cathedral Square and the start of the North Westgate development. It is also actively involved in seeking to purchase property for development. However, I am sure your readers will understand this must be at the right price and for the right purposes.
Cllr John Holdich & Cllr David Seaton, Peterborough City Council