Yesterday I donned my high visibility vest and hard hat to see the first spade put in the ground at the site of the new Hilton Garden Inn hotel and apartments that are coming to Fletton Quays.
The renowned Hilton brand coming to Peterborough will give wonderful views across the city from its rooftop bar, including the river and Peterborough Cathedral. It is expected to be completed for us to enjoy by Spring 2022, with apartments being built alongside the hotel ready to move in by Summer 2022. The development has been brought about by the Peterborough Investment Partnership – which I chair – which attracts investment into the whole city.
As well as being a great place for us all to visit, it also signals the final finishing touches to Fletton Quays as a visitor destination. This development – and is the case with all new developments in our city – will provide not only short-term construction jobs, but additional long-term jobs and investment from the 100+ people who will be living in the apartments.
In addition, the beginning of construction has meant that the council has signed off on a £15million loan that will see the council make £500,000 in revenue, as we are able to access better interest rates than developers.
Our vision for Fletton Quays was to kickstart major development of a site that had laid bare for years and together with the Peterborough Investment Partnership we have done this, while continuing to boost our economy for years to come.
Peterborough showing signs of economic recovery
There’s been a lot of talk in the national media this week about the UK’s economic recovery following a global pandemic.
I can’t really talk from a national perspective, but I can give you an update on what’s happening here in Peterborough.
The reason why I was so pleased to attend the sod-cutting event at the Hilton Garden Inn hotel yesterday is because it gives a huge vote of investor confidence in our city as Peterborough begins to bounce back from Covid-19. I felt exactly the same earlier this month, when John Lewis announced the Peterborough store in which it has recently invested £21million will remain open.
This week, we have more good news – over 1,000 new jobs will be coming to the city. A total of 500 of our city residents will be starting new jobs on Saturday when supermarket giant Lidl opens the doors of its new 754,000sq ft distribution centre at Peterborough Gateway in Alwalton Hill.
Plus, food flavourings specialist McCormick has given the go ahead to start construction of a huge operations hub in Peterborough, which means another 300 jobs are on their way. And Amazon last week announced hundreds of extra jobs will soon be coming to its distribution centre.
On our high street there’s also cause to celebrate, the Centre for Cities High Street Recovery Tracker shows that footfall in our city centre has increased at rates above the national average since lockdown began.
All this means that while many other towns and cities are struggling to bounce back following Covid-19, Peterborough is already showing promising signs of recovery, which can be only good news for our city’s residents.
Transferring the Lido and other Vivacity services back to the council
Finally, we are continuing to work with Vivacity on the transfer of arts, leisure and heritage services back to the council following a 90-day transition period in September.
There’s been lots of talk this week about what this will mean for the Lido. Our original plan was to keep this much-loved and iconic city building closed until the 2021 opening season.
However, we are continuing to work with Vivacity and all key stakeholders to see if there is anyone who is willing to come forward to totally underwrite cost of opening for a very short season. This is only if trends in Covid-19 infection mean that the risk to public health continues to be reduced and measures identified in our on-site risk assessments are put in place. But this offer would need to be made, and in full, in the next few days.
You can rest assured the council will continue to work hard to keep services going, its residents safe and well and to keep the city moving.