Car park plan for sorting office site
DEMOLITION work has begun at a former city landmark to create a new temporary car park.
The former Royal Mail sorting office and mail depot, in Bourges Boulevard, Peterborough, is being torn down to be replaced by a 500-space car park for rail users.
But council leader Marco Cereste does not believe the city needs another car park.
It is being built by ING Real Estate, who have been given planning permission for the car park to remain until April 30, 2014.
But Peterborough City Council leader, councillor Marco Cereste has criticised the move saying the city does not need another car park.
He said: “I can understand why the developer would want it, but I’m not sure it is needed.
“The last thing we need in that area is a car park and that’s my personal view.
“The city has lots of car park spaces and many of the returns for the council are down - which means the car parks are not being used as much as they were.
“I can understand they want a car park because it’s a way of getting a return on their investment.
“But quite frankly, from the city’s point of view, the last thing that we should see is a car park on what is possibly the best site for development in the city centre.”
Instead of a car park, Cllr Cereste would like the 3.19 acre site re-developed as part of the city council’s aspirations to create a new station quarter in the area.
The 22 hectare site including the former sorting office as well as the railway station is due for a multimillion pound facelift.
Re-development plans are due to be shown at a conference later this month as part of a wider vision for the city centre as a whole.
Cllr Cereste added: “We will be unveiling a vision for the city which we want feedback on from developers and investors so we can finalise our plans with the current retail and residential requirements of a modern city centre.
“We don’t own the site, so it’s not for us to get in there, but I would hope the land owners will participate in the new development or sell it on to developers.”
But Cllr Cereste’s views differ to those of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Bridge, who is keen for disused land to be reused again as soon as possible.
Mr Bridge said: “It’s better to find a use for the land than it just sitting there doing nothing.
“It’s much better it’s put to good use to generate income and provide a service to commuters while we are clearly waiting for the future devel- opment of the city to come forward in due course.”
The sorting office slowly began to shut down in 1996 following the opening of a new premises in Papyrus Road, Werrington, which is now the main postal sorting office in the region.
Covering an area equivalent to approximately three football pitches, the new purpose-built premises gave Royal Mail more space away from the city centre.
At the time of announcing their car park plans, development manager at ING Real Estate Tim Webb said: “The temporary nature of this proposal means that there will be no risk to the longer term plan for the comprehensive re-development of this area. Particularly, as it is recognised it will take a considerable amount of time for the various sites to be assembled and developed.”
coming down: The former sorting office as it faces demolition. (METP-02-06-10BD112)
demolition: A digger works to demolish the former sorting office in Bourges Boulevard, Peterborough. (METP-02-06-10BD105)