Businesses and shoppers eagerly await station revamp

Shop owners and commuters have said they are frustrated by their rundown city centre railway station and are welcoming plans to regenerate the area.

The government has approved an outline business plan to transform Peterborough railway station and the surrounding area, known as Station Quarter.

The project still needs to get a full business case approval and there will be a public consultation before any work takes place.

“If they do as they say, it’s going to be an asset,” said David Allet, 64, who lives in Peterborough.

The project has emerged as a talking point in the run-up to the general election.

Dave Allett standing by his bicycleDave Allett standing by his bicycle

David Allet said Peterborough had “lost a lot” but was optimistic about the regeneration [Kate Moser Andon/BBC]

Mr Allet said people’s first impressions of Peterborough as they step out of the station were “not great”.

“Immediately in front of you, you’ve got a nice Victorian building, but it’s just been wasted,” he remarked.

He thought the area could do with one less car park.

‘Sprucing up’

The £65m scheme would refurbish the current entrance to the station, create a new western entrance, and a multi-storey car park.

Nurum Ahmed runs a clothing shop in the Westgate Arcade in Queensgate shopping centre, a short walk from the railway station.

She said the Station Quarter needed a “facelift”.

“That is the gateway, that is what welcomes people into Peterborough, and it should have a lasting image,” she said.

“It does need a little bit of sprucing up and it does need a lot more shops.”

Aida Damas standing on a pavement near the stationAida Damas standing on a pavement near the station

Aida Damas was positive about the existing area around the railway station [Kate Moser Andon/BBC]

Aida Damas lives in the city – she said she did not mind the area around the station, but wanted improved bus services.

“Around my area it’s difficult to take the bus,” she said. “The timing can be very late.”

The Station Quarter project is a joint venture between Peterborough City Council, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, train operator LNER and Network Rail.

Peterborough elections

With the general election taking place on 4 July, Peterborough’s Station Quarter has become a topic of conversation among the candidates.

In alphabetical order by surname, Conservative Party candidate Paul Bristow said: “The only way to guarantee the Station Quarter redevelopment is with me.”

He wanted to know whether the hotel just outside the station was included in the regeneration plans.

Andrew Pakes, the Labour and Co-operative Party candidate, said it was time for a “new plan” for the city centre as a whole.

He said: “A Labour government will work with local players to ensure that the Station Quarter development is finally delivered.”

Nick Sandford, the Liberal Democrat candidate, said he wanted the area to be more accessible for pedestrians and those travelling by bicycle.

“I’d like to see more emphasis on getting people to come into Peterborough by public transport,” he said.

Here’s our election guide for voters in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

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