‘Where is the extra cash?’ ask traders
CITY centre businesses say they are still waiting to reap the benefits of the new look Cathedral Square two weeks after its revamp was finished.
The new fountains burst into action earlier this month, marking the end of the first phase of the city centre regeneration.
Work is now under way on St John’s Square, on the site of the former Corn Exchange.
Despite mass gatherings of families around the fountains during the recent half-term, businesses are yet to see the buzz of activity converted into cash at the tills.
Sue Lord, store manager of Shoe Zone, said they have had to turn people away from the store. She said: “It hasn’t increased trading. All it has done is bring lots of wet children in to the shop, so we’ve had to stop people coming in for health and safety reasons.
“I think once it’s all finished, that’s when we will see if it’s going to increase our trading or not.”
HMV assistant manager Chris Sharp said: “Hopefully over time this will make a positive difference to the city centre.”
However, he added that trade had suffered from disruption in the square during the works. He said: “It’s still too early to say whether the increase in footfall will convert to sales. I don’t think it will counter the lack of footfall during the development.”
However, assistant manager at Greggs, Gemma Davies, said trade was flourishing when the fountains were first switched on.
She said: “There has been some trading increase. We had a lot of people coming in on the first few days, but now the kids have gone back to school, there’s not as much.”
Sales assistant at O2, Andy MacFarlaine said the 36 per cent parking price hike at Queensgate Shopping Centre would affect them more than the fountains.
He said: “We don’t know if the foun- tains will help trading, but now that Queensgate have put their car parking up, that will affect us.”
However, Peterborough City Council’s head of delivery Andrew Edwards is hopeful that business will pick up when all of the £11.6 million work – including St John’s Square - is complete.
He said: “The new water fountains are just one part of the works taking place to attract people to the city.
“It takes time for the interest to build and for a momentum to be generated. However, when the fountains were switched on, there were considerably more families enjoying the attraction.”
ATTRACTION: Traders, including Sue Lord of Shoe Zone (inset) say they are still waiting to see increased business thanks to the fountains (above).