LETTER: Pledge to pursue North Westgate development for Peterborough

How North Westgate may appear once completed.
How North Westgate may appear once completed.

The article about North Westgate in Property Week and the Peterborough Telegraph bring this major Peterborough site to public attention again.

The Hawksworth scheme is a very carefully prepared concept which is designed to suit the need in this part of Peterborough. 

A mixed use, leisure led scheme with residential and office components is just what is needed to enliven this derelict area, add to the economy of Peterborough, create jobs, and make it a worthy development in the city centre.

Support for the Hawksworth scheme is almost universal but such a scheme is not deliverable without a multiplex cinema.

This is not Hawksworth’s decision but because the leisure operators such as restaurants, bars and coffee shops which make a location into a leisure quarter need the reassurance of a cinema because of the large number of people, and the amount of business, cinemas invariably attract.

The council have supported Queensgate for a cinema location but the major multiplex operators are not interested and Odeon have withdrawn.

Shopping centres are notoriously unsuccessful places for cinema operators. What better location for a cinema complex than North Westgate one may ask and why not?

The council have allowed the various owners of Queensgate fifteen years (since granting them preferred developer status in 2003) to deliver a scheme.

It is time to call a halt to this delay which is costing about £1.6 million each year in lost rates.

The council now say they want a strong leisure component in North Westgate but the commercial reality is that this is not capable of delivery without a multiplex cinema.

The world of property moves on and the Hawksworth leisure based proposal will not be deliverable forever. Council support for North Westgate is required or Peterborough will end up with a bland blocks of flats and/or offices at this city gateway. 

What a poor outcome this would be for a proud city!

It would good for the cinema issue to be resolved and for Hawksworth and the council to combine their efforts and start building.

Peter Breach

Chairman, Hawksworth Securities