Earlier this year Peterborough City Council began the demolition of the Northminster multi-storey car park, near the city market, as part of long-term plans to regenerate the area.
The car park’s demolition is now complete and, in its place, a temporary short stay car park is due to open in late November, providing space for over 100 vehicles, including disabled parking bays.
The decision to open the car park comes after the council moved to close two other city centre car parks (Regional Pool and Wirrina) as progress on the new university site gathers pace.
The council has previously announced exciting plans to regenerate the Northminster site and is in the process of transferring the land to the Peterborough Investment Partnership (PIP), with a planning application expected to be submitted early next year.
However, market traders have expressed their disappointment; they say the footfall has further reduced since losing the car park last year and are not sure that this new space will help them adding that they were "kept in the dark", with no official word on the new car park development.
Angel Williams, who runs Be Kind Kitchen in the market, said: "I have heard that there is going to be a temporary car park shortly. I honestly don’t know if this is going to help us. It’s a bit too little too late. I am not impressed.
"I don’t think this was done keeping us [market traders] in mind. The council is not bothered about us. We have been forgotten.
"Just look around to see how dead the market is. There are hardly any traders and no customers at all. We are really struggling.
"Honestly, we have been kept in the dark. They promised to keep us in the loop. If they had told us, we could have informed our regular customers. I was thinking of not trading during the Christmas period because there is no point. Now if they are providing the parking facility, they should have informed us."
Nevertheless, some elderly shoppers who like to visit the market often have welcomed this news and told Peterborough Matters: "It has been a struggle to park away and go to the market. Bit of a long walk for us, so hopefully it shouldn’t be too bad if they open the car park. We might start to come back to get the fruit and vegetable more regularly, which is always so fresh."
Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: "We’ve always felt that opening a temporary car park at Northminster would be the right thing to do, given the closure of the Regional Pool and Wirrina car parks.
"In these difficult times, it is more important than ever to help our city centre businesses by ensuring that customers have sufficient car parking spaces. By opening now we are also giving businesses and shoppers a helping hand ahead of the busy Christmas period.
"The long-term future for Northminster is still to be decided, but we’re confident that this short-term option is a welcome solution. The city centre is faring well despite Covid-19 and has already bounced back to 97 per cent of its footfall (end of August 2020) – well above the national average. We will continue to work to ensure that it is a thriving, attractive place."