Opportunity knocks for Peterborough
Date of Article
May 13 2010

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Development experts in Peterborough are backing MP Stewart Jackson’s call for Opportunity Peterborough (OP) to get serious about promoting the city on the national and international stage and are calling on the organisation to start delivering on its development brief for the city and the Greater Peterborough area.

The call is being lead by Carter Jonas' Head of Commercial division Chris Haworth, who is based in this region and who, in the run-up to the General Election, produced a Manifesto for Development in which he urged all political parties to acknowledge the importance of development to regional and national economic prosperity.

Now, post-Election, Carter Jonas is looking to Opportunity Peterborough, as the umbrella organisation for other local institutions and authorities, to actively create the environment in which development can happen and to work, collectively, with businesses and investors to foster a collaborative pro-development culture in the city.

While acknowledging the tough financial climate in which Opportunity Peterborough is operating, Chris Haworth points out that there are a significant number of investors and developers seeking opportunities and the skill needed from organisations like OP is to use the limited public funds available in the most effective way to lever private sector funding at the earliest opportunity.

He says:

“We are in agreement with Stewart Jackson MP that Opportunity Peterborough has an above-the-line marketing job to do – he refers to advertising in national media and exploiting the Environment City status – but this has to be founded on the nitty-gritty of business in presenting Peterborough as a serious contender.

“The city is ideally placed - communications wise, its proximity and ease of access to London and, geographically, in the eastern region - to be at the forefront of the new green-tech sector but a few adverts here and there announcing we’re an Environment City won’t be enough to attract and convince the serious levels of money needed for development and regeneration.”

Chris Haworth references the work being done in Corby and Nottinghamshire’s Bingham - the latter in which Carter Jonas has had direct involvement in regeneration development work for clients – as touchstones for what can be achieved through development.

“What Opportunity Peterborough needs to do now is to use its influence to ensure that all the various factions in Peterborough - which currently are pulling in different directions and frustrating development - are focused under a common vision to ensure that schemes start to happen on the ground.

“Over the last few years, hundreds of studies have been carried out to assess the feasibility of many schemes in and around Peterborough. 

“Many people seem to believe that these reports are outputs.  They are not.  Outputs are cranes on the skyline and new buildings appearing.  That is what Peterborough needs to see.”