"No provision for us": Market traders express disappointment over Northminster plans

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Market traders have expressed disappointment at the plans to regenerate Northminster (Photo: Terry Harris)

They have also commented to say "the council have made no plans to allow for the centuries old market culture to survive". 

As part of the overall development of the Peterborough city centre, Northminster is one of the key areas to be developed over the next few years, and some plans are already underway, with a licensing application for a new club submitted just last month.  

In a survey launched to the general public, Peterborough Investment Partnership (PIP) has asked people to share their views before they finalise their plans and submit the application. 

They have advised people to share their thoughts, also asking people if they support the regeneration of the area. 

However, market traders said they "have not been kept in the loop with the regeneration plans", adding that "there has been lack of communication from the council on the future of the market".  

One of the business owners, Keith Robin Woodland, is part of the Woodland Butcher family, that has been serving customers for nearly four decades at the city market. 

Commenting on the development plans he said that regeneration is "accepted but not at the expense of current diverse community and culture".

In a letter to Peterborough Matters, Mr Woodland responded to the survey seeking opinions of members of public on the final blueprint for the Northminster plans. 

He said: "During the pandemic small businesses have been praised for their contribution. Whilst we fully appreciate the need for regeneration within the city centre it seems the majority of it will be based on residential with little or no accommodation for retail.  

"Regeneration is accepted but not at the expense of current diverse community and culture.  

"The council have made no plans or provision to help small independent businesses or to help allow for the centuries old market culture to survive. Their actions are nothing less than social cleansing.  
 
"We have posted this message on our Facebook page in the hope that we can highlight the need to retain small independent traders within the city centre who recently have proved to be so invaluable. 

"Serving the community for 37 years, over three generations, apparently doesn’t count for anything.

"Whilst we fully embrace change there is no provision for a small trading hub or market so lots of long standing small independent businesses such as ours will be lost."

His son Phil Woodland further added: "We have not been kept in the loop at all. We never had any meetings or correspondence from the council in the last three years until Tuesday last week.   

"We were led to believe they would re-locate us. But now we have been told it’s not happening. 

"The people who came to speak to us from PCC said they came to inform us about the plans and the survey as it was going to the press. They didn't want us to hear it second hand. 

"I asked them what does this mean for us? What am I supposed to tell my staff? What will happen to us? And they said they don’t know and that they are not relocating us.  

"Trading all these years with PCC - paying our rent and serving the local community - and this is what we get. It's absolutely terrible behaviour on their part. 

"They haven't given us a time scale to tell us when this is happening or how much time we have. The survey ends on June 20, so that doesn’t leave much time. I have staff that I need to think about. They have bills to pay, mortgages to pay.  

"I am also concerned about the people who visit the city centre. There is already nothing to bring them to the city centre, with John Lewis also gone. 

"Elderly people, people of different communities come to the market - they like to buy their fresh food from here. It gives them a personal shopping experience they can't get in a supermarket. So, if the market goes, it will be like cutting off their lifeline. 

"And if they are not re-locating us, then we have to wind up our business. That is a costly job. We have been left in limbo. Really disappointing to get this in return to our service of all these years."

Readers have also been sharing their views with Peterborough Matters on the Northminster regeneration plans. 

A popular option involves revamping the city market rather than letting it fade away, with some saying they would like to see "more coffee shops and small retailers" in the area rather than more residential development.

One reader even suggested bringing the new Posh stadium to the area! 

In response to a question put to Peterborough City Council regarding if the market traders will be part of the Northminster makeover plans, a spokesperson said: "We have briefed City Market traders to make them aware of the potential new residential led development at Northminster which will occupy the land where the City Market is currently located, and the multi-storey car park previously stood.  

"This area has been allocated for redevelopment since the adoption of the current Local Plan in 2019 and represents one of the next stages of the city's regeneration.  

"A planning application for the development of the Northminster site, led by the Peterborough Investment Partnership (PIP) is due to be submitted to Peterborough City Council later this year. If planning permission is secured, construction could begin in 2022. 

"The city council 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.  

"All city markets traders will be invited to one-to-one meetings in the coming weeks." 

If you would like to have your say on the regeneration plans, you can do so here