An interview with John Bridge Chairman of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce on the news that Morrisons will be coming to the new Cardea development in Stanground. Broadcast at 07:15 on Thursday 7th January in the Paul Stainton Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Peterborough.
PS: Good news for Stanground this morning. It’s set to get a new Morrisons supermarket. The chain has confirmed they hope to be part of the new fifteen hundred home development planned called Cardea. Plans are on show today and Saturday at the Stanground Community Centre. John Bridge is Chairman of Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. Morning John.
JB: Yes good morning Paul.
PS: Are you warm?
JB: Yes not too bad at the moment. But obviously looking forward to going out and meeting the challenges of the cold this morning.
PS: Yes. Does Peterborough need any more supermarkets, do you think?
JB: Well I think the key thing is that we all know of the current economic difficulties, and the only way we’re going to get out of this is with businesses investing, and putting their money into Peterborough, and creating jobs for people. And so I think we should really welcome Morrisons’ involvement in this new Henry Davidson development at Stanground, because what it is going to do is going to be a stepping stone to enable us to get through the economic difficulties perhaps quicker than many other locations.
PS: Yes I think most people agree we’d like to bring more jobs to Peterborough, but won’t this just be taking trade from elsewhere? We’ve already got an Aldi in Stanground, we’ve got Serpentine Green just down the road.
JB: Yes indeed. But a key thing is that particularly supermarket businesses only invest where they can see that the customers are going to come and use them. Because no-one is actually going to come and create something without being able to get the revenue they need. And certainly the choice which the general public at large need ensures that they get good value for money. Because what it does mean is that there’s competition and people obviously vie for their business. And so I think really it’s a win-win situation. It does give the choice, and it gives really good value for money because people are able to see that these companies do compete with each other. One of the biggest problems we hear from many of the public is that you know there isn’t choice. One chain is you know got lots of stores and they’ve got no other options. But in Peterborough there are lots of options, and people can decide which supermarket they want to use, and it is really good for a competitive situation and keeping the prices right for the customer.
PS: Yes. Morrisons is just the latest in a long line of investment to come into Stanground. What’s so special about Stanground at the moment?
JB: Well I think the key thing is that people do see that there is tremendous potential there, and I know obviously there are one or two concerns which need to be dealt with. But clearly with its strategic location and particularly when we’re looking at the Magna Park development along the railway line which is going to be developed from Felixstowe to Nuneaton, it is a very strategic route, and people can see that there is the availability of the creation of jobs there, and clearly we believe that developing it like that is going to be really positive for Peterborough. And we’re looking at some four to five thousand additional jobs, and we all know how desperately we need to provide jobs, in order to ensure the quality of life for people, and to sustain the development of housing and all the things that go with it for everybody that lives there.
PS: Yeah. And retail at the moment, is it starting to pick up? We keep being told we’re pulling out of recession here. Some good figures for Christmas trading from some areas, how are we doing round here?
JB: Yes I mean I think with Queensgate and John Lewis and Next in particular we’ve seen some really positive figures, and they’ve done really well, and I think that one of the key things we have to understand is that Peterborough has a really good retail offering, and people are finding it very attractive to come and shop in Peterborough. And that is shown by the figures that we’ve seen over Christmas. they do see it as a real place that they want to be and spend their money. And there are lots of options for them to be able to shop in all the different varieties. And I think we’re very fortunate to have such a vibrant city centre and shopping centre such as Queensgate. But the key thing is it’s still going to be challenging in the early part of this year. Things are changing with the VAT having been increased again. There are going to be challenges with various issues of additional redundancies as we meet the challenges of the debt that the UK has got. So I think that although we’ve had a really good Christmas, we have to understand that there are still going to be certain problems that we are going to have to manage ourselves through. Which is why it is so important that as Peterborough, we are able to attract investment now, to ensure that we don’t get the kind of lull that perhaps may happen in other locations.
PS: John. Stay warm. Thank you for that. John Bridge, Chairman of Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. Morrisons said “we are keen to bring our great value fresh food to new customers in Peterborough.” And they are “looking forward to being part of this exciting new development in Stanground.” Your thoughts on that, and anything else you hear in the show. Do you want another supermarket in Stanground?