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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Bourges Boulevard - The battlelines are drawn, financial hell forecast for Peterborough businesses...

 All trees are now in POTS. Signed Cllr. C.Cereste (Dear Leader)
Bourges Boulevard meltdown LATEST, crunching through the e-mails and it's not looking good for existing businesses and retail operations in Peterborough for the next year or so, or residents with mobility issues...
PBROTRIB has helpfully added a few remarks in red, for Mr Machin

From: Machen Simon <>
Date: 3 June 2014 18:05:56 BST
To: Cllr Shearman John <>
Cc: Speed Mark <>
Subject: FW: Bourges Boulevard 'transformation

Dear Cllr Shearman

Thank you for forwarding the e-mail from Mr Francis. In answer to his questions:

 PBROTRIB SAYS: This was agreed at a time before the current economic slump and the PCCs rapidly escalating debt mountain was just a small hill, and also before the PBROTRIB existed, so no one actually questioning the ramrod tactics of the Dear Leader and his cowed councillors to get it pushed through and adopted.. (robotic voting et al) 

Bourges Boulevard acts a physical barrier between the station and the wider city centre, resulting in poor connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists. 

PBROTRIB SAYS: AS CYCLISTS are now barred from Bridge Street and most local residents use the railway station to get out of the City and commute to where the jobs are, and then return in the evening, to go home. This would seem to be a rubbish idea and an outmoded rationale.

Mr Machin does not seem to understand, even after the completion of the long drawn out works the redevelopment, Bourges Boulevard sadly will continue to act as physical barrier between the station and the wider city centre, resulting in poor connectivity as the existing ramp and overhead covered footway are to be removed, and not replaced, the population generally is getting older and people with limited mobility greatly on the increase. 
No consideration for disabled people who in future will have to compete directly  with several lanes of live two way traffic.  The physical walk from the station, then over (he says) a busy thoroughfare and a further long walk into the town centre with an excessive amount of pop up shops, bookies,  Cheap outlets like Poundland, TKMAXX,  pubs, nightclubs, lap dancing etc.  populate the Cereste Memorial public realm.

Clearly if you are shopping you'll need some form of transport, a car or taxi  and will tend to use a destination shopping area such as Serpentine Green with FREE parking. PCC selling off council car parks being an act of gross stupidity. It will of course be a no go area for the majority of Peterborians who need mobility assistance.  Crossing times will need to be extended to facilitate wheelchairs and mobility buggies, but they won't, as it will hold up the traffic on Bourges Boulevard!
It has also proved a significant deterrent to inward investment in the Station Quarter and North Westgate. I recently met with [prospective] bidders for the east coast main line franchise. 
PBROTRIB SAYS: Did Mr Machin bother to meet with the RMT Union?  And Mr Machin has omitted to mention that HS2 is already sucking investment out of this City, why do you think Queensgate recently changed hands at a knockdown price? The proceeds have gone into Birmingham (on the proposed HS2 route)
All [prospective bidders for East Coast Main Line?] recognise the significant development potential of land close to the station and that Peterborough station and its environs has far less of a retail, leisure and commercial offer than comparable stations elsewhere.

PBROTRIB SAYS: If Mr Machin had a look at The Kantor shopping index, he'd find that his ideas for retail development are so outdated, and wide of the mark. Pub groups and retailers are currently dumping commercial leases as fast as possible and commercial retail and leisure redevelopment of the Station Quarter, will just dry up any remaining (or reduce trade) in the centre of Peterborough...apart from the drunks and fights in vomit alley aka Broadway / Long Causeway (Thursday to early Sunday morning) and financially damage retailers who do try and invest in this City.

They [ East Coast bidders ] welcome the Council’s investment in this scheme which will help to unlock this potential. They forecast that the number of passengers using the station will increase from 5 to between 8-10 million per year over the next 10 years and that this represents a significant opportunity to capture expenditure locally.

PBROTRIB SAYS: No it won't, the idea of a train is to go somewhere else.The private Train Company will make money for its shareholders 

Without the Bourges Boulevard scheme the new Waitrose development adjacent to the Great Northern Hotel would have been contrary to the Council’s planning policies due to poor pedestrian connectivity with the city centre.   

PBROTRIB SAYS: The planning policies are flawed and so outdated, not taking account of changing 21st Century spending/ wealth patterns.   Why would PEDESTRIANS, ie people on foot, use Waitrose A SUPERMARKET? Its not been planned out properly with cars, and service vehicles, an essential part of the process, taking pride of place.

You only have to look at the blacked out Cerestemobile, the dear leader drives around in, and the increasing number of EMPTY electric car points  denied to the majority of car owners  and disabled drivers to get the picture.  
One might also ask in view of Tescos downgrading of profits,  loss of trade to the discounters the likes of  Asda, Aldi & Lidl. How Mr Machin can claim to be on top of the everchanging retail marketplace?

PBROTRIB SAYS: It also blew a cool £2 million plus,  on legal advice and consultancy for the stunningly successful Cereste solar farm adventure. To fund it the PCC, cut back on meals on wheels, dropped essential bus services, closed childrens centres,  watched BBC live broadcasting decamp from the City to Labour controlled Cambridge. It also watched Cllr Turnip try to stifle retail development ( using planning protocols and late night doorstepping of elderly impressionable Stanground residents to oppose  first a Burger King franchise, then a Subway food outlet, at our only revamped service station in Stanground. Hardly an encouragement for new inwaerd investment...) 

This capital scheme will not generate revenue budget savings. However, it will help to create new jobs and new business rate income, and support the city centre economy. Peterborough’s city centre has a retail vacancy rate of just over 9% compared to an average of over 14% nationally. 

PBROTRIB SAYS: GET REAL! It won't support the City Centre Economy, just have a look at people currently using it,  and the branded carrier bags they carry. Mainly Primark, but council officers should already know this. The retail vacancy rate numbers are suspect as well. Have a good look at the number of Charity shops, and pop-up units  in Bridge Street alone ! The new major chains that have moved in ? No one will go public on the 'behind closed doors deals' to get them in. But if the revenue isn't there. They too will move out.  

PBROTRIB SAYS: Delusional rubbish of course the only high quality aspect is the amount of hard cash wasted on fountains, ripping out mature trees and the installation of a gaudy lighting system that would not be out of place in Blackpool and only serves to highlight the 'devoid of pedestrians' after 6pm along  Peterborough Centrals' Bridge Street, and the 'tumbleweed' rolling around in Cathedral Square. Empty streets, mainly down to the continuing high levels of drug abuse, drunks and muggings in the Public Realm Centre of our City

The chief executive of Land Securities, one of the UK’s largest retail investment institutions, recently forecast that there is a surplus approaching 25% of retail floorspace in the UK, due in part to the success of on-line shopping.

Without continued investment there is a significant risk that Peterborough will be unable to compete.
Extensive traffic modelling of the Bourges Boulevard scheme took place using the VISIM simulation model. I can arrange for Mr Francis to be shown this if he would like to take the opportunity.

The modelling also takes into account traffic from the new Waitrose development. Traffic congestion is relative. What may be considered congestion in Peterborough would not be considered such in many other towns and cities.

As a simple test, if you stand on the footbridge on Bourges Boulevard outside Queensgate and observe traffic flow, it is light and free flowing outside the morning and evening peak. Whilst the Bourges Boulevard scheme when complete will result in some delay for motorists this is outweighed by the clear benefits for pedestrians and cyclists, and for the city centre economy.

PBROTRIB SAYS: Simple says it all really, Simon.  After Mr Machen has finished there will be NO footbridge (in fact a covered walkway) to stand on, it is going.  And this astonishing statement: "When complete will result in some delay for motorists, this is outweighed by the clear benefits for pedestrians and cyclists, and for the city centre economy."  However, NO ONE has quantified the clear benefits for pedestrians and why would they take that route from the train to see the dysfunctional fountains perhaps? "There is even going to be some delay for motorists" Motorists include JIT Delivery lorries, service vehicles, Ambulances, Fire Engines, Breakdown and other Emergency services, taxis, buses ( the few that are left) Customers for the new Waitrose, Station Taxis...and so on
The choice of tree species has been very carefully considered by the landscape architects involved in the design of the scheme and the Council’s own in-house tree specialists. Tilia Cordata Greenspire has been selected as the most appropriate species.

Bourges Boulevard at present is a hostile urban environment and the scheme will significantly enhance the appearance of the area. There are also clear benefits to tree planting in a wider environmental context.
Turning to potential damage by vehicles, liability rests with the party causing the damage and this is actively pursued by the Council.
Given that vehicle speeds will be reduced through the introduction of two at grade pedestrian crossings and a signalised junction serving the station, I would anticipate there being fewer incidents, and the scheme is of course subject to a full safety audit.

PBROTRIB SAYS: So some injuries and fatalities to pedestians competing head on with cars and commercial vehicles, are accepted under this  scheme as the overhead covered ramp and walkway is being removed? 

Since the initial artist’s impression, the scheme design has evolved significantly with trees now contained within planters  in the central reserve and with artist designed ‘railings’ linking those raised planters. 

PBROTRIB SAYS: Cllr Marco Cereste has always demanded trees in planters, seems he has his way again. They will never properly mature so why bother? They'll probably vanish within a few years! 
In summary, the scheme has been subject to extensive professional design input and will bring clear economic and environmental benefits to the area. I would be more than happy to meet with Mr Francis to discuss any further concerns.

PBROTRIB SAYS:  Having checked Mr Machins page on linkedin might be a good idea for Simon to get the CV in shape, and distributed around the agencies. This shoddy long drawn out half baked scheme - Contractors not even working around the clock seven days a week - will in the interim  kill of most of the existing hard pressed businesses in the centre of Peterborough . WAKE UP PEOPLE END THIS MADNESS!
Kind regards,

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