‘Where is the ex­tra cash?’ ask traders

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

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).

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