Car park plan for sort­ing of­fice site

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - UK & World Update - By NICK REINIS

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.”

Pic­ture: ben davis.

com­ing down: The for­mer sort­ing of­fice as it faces de­mo­li­tion. (METP-02-06-10BD112)

Pic­ture: ben davis.

de­mo­li­tion: A dig­ger works to de­mol­ish the for­mer sort­ing of­fice in Bourges Boule­vard, Peter­bor­ough. (METP-02-06-10BD105)

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