BREAKING NEWS: We hear that planning officers are to recommend approval for BOTH cinemas. It still has to go before the Planning Committee at the end of the month.. and has now been approved. We say it's the right and a bold decision by the Planning Committee, supporting the NEW owners of the Queensgate Shopping Centre and its plan to spend some £30 million in this City starting in January! They now have full planning permission, so hopefully local Conservative MP Stewart Jackson will take off his 'Claret Goggles' and get fully and properly behind the Queensgate management rather than sniping from the back benches and through the weekly Westminster Pondlife essay, someone throws together for the local newspaper....
PBROTRIBinsightby Julian Bray
UPDATE : Our response is now (September 16th 2015) on the PCC Application file which is open to public inspection.
Most applications are decided by planning officers under delegated powers and not at a formal committee meeting of the Council.
If this is one of the few to be decided at a formal committee meeting, objectors and/or supporters may be invited to speak at the meeting. You still have a few days to submit your written views..
The Case Officer is Mrs J MacLennan
Direct Tel: 01733 435410
The planning application reference number must be included.
The PCC Planning Application reference is
The nine page bombastic, blustering letter to the PCC Planning Committee from the Bristol based property agents Savill retained by the Bristol based firm behind the so-called £100 million New North Westgate Development Scheme in Peterborough suggests it might not go ahead, say their client the Bristol based Hawksworth Securities. How dare these 'westcountry wurzels' dictate planning in our East Coast City!
They employed a local Peterborough PR firm and with a lot of money thrown at it conned some media outfits and the local back bench MP - who seems unable to take in the full brief - totally fell for it. The PBROTRIB decided to have a closer look, and has obtained the documents. It makes for chilling reading.
We were so appalled by the not so veiled threats against the CINEMA proposal for Queensgate Shopping Centre. a kind of 'blackmail' in the nine page letter that we decided to have a much closer look. The Bristolians are saying if you Queensgate dare put a cinema in your shopping centre, then kiss goodbye to the £100million North Westgate Development. Nice!
Unless we are mistaken, Hawksworth Securities are trying it on, trying to effect a reduction of their financial liability, similar to the Peterborough District Hospital site deal agreed by council then further discounted and affordable housing totally axed.
You'll recall that Tory back bencher Stewart Jackson MP repeatedly claimed credit for the initial District Hospital deal.. ooops... Seems the former bank manager now MP, recently censured over Mpsexpenses by the parliamentary watchdog... an MP with a reduced majority is backing Hawksworth, and going against the shopping centre cinema deal.
Sad really as it would affect Broadways revival chances too. Odd that the Jackson family, will probably be first in the Broadway stalls when the new Bill Kenwright season starts. The Broadway holds a D2 cinema licence Stewart ....as does the nearby Clare Theatre. Still looking on the bright side, the shopping centre could always bar him and his wider family! Shamefully Jackson is using the local newspaper editorial columns to promote his views. The Editor seems to be out to lunch, reviewing yet another restaurant, and has missed it !!
Not that we'd ever suggest to Queensgates owners, the parent company to pull all their advertising from JP titles up and down the country... but if they are allowing the MP editorial free reign with little or no balance, ahead of the planning committee...
However despite the MPs lobby activity, we think this is the first stage before Hawksworth discreetly pulls out and lays the blame at the door of the City Council.
For once, we are delighted to report the City Council is actually in the clear. Must be going soft in my dotage...
Planning Development Management
Dear Mrs MacLennan,
3. Simply The Peterborough Tribune was not included in the initial press distribution of Mr O’Briens letter to you. We have since obtained the documents referred to above, directly from Planning Control.
4. Interestingly Mr O’Brien appears not to be a qualified Chartered Surveyor. We could be wrong, but his property related surveying qualification would have appeared on the Savills subsidiary Bristol based company redacted letterhead, it seems to be missing.
5. As the Editor of the Peterborough Tribune Blog, I have been asked by readers to assist the PPC Planning Committee, to ensure PCC Planning officers are not misled or possibly confused by the nine page strongly worded, but in our view wholly misguided and possibly mischievous letter from Mr O’Brien.
6. Reading between the lines, and in view of the specific threat contained on Page 8, Paragraph 35 headed Conclusions, it appears that Mr Breach is possibly paving the way for a discreet withdrawal from the whole project, but possibly attempting to save face with his financial backers, the thinking being the justification for ‘canning the project’ or making a short term gain for his Bristol based company, by selling on the outline planning permission or as in the case of the Peterborough District Hospital Site, renegotiating with the PCC to reduce Mr Breachs’ firms financial liability, and would then be in a position to publicly lay the blame for the collapse of this scheme at the City Councils doorstep, thus maintaining faith with his own backers. Happily we have seen through this ruse.
7. Having looked at the year on year ‘slender’ financials of Hawksworth Securities, and in turn the heavy reliance they are placing on outside funding, consultants, consideration should be given to the simple fact that Northgate is for Mr Breachs’ modest firm ‘a project too far’ as their own audited accounts with a high level of gearing do not suggest they are comfortable progressing a multifaceted major City core regeneration project of this size. If they are unable to complete the initial due diligence process - which would have quickly revealed that long established planning permission for other major D2 cinema and theatre spaces already exist and within walking distance of the proposed Northgate development. We have helpfully provided the Planning references above.
8. Therefore as representative of Peterborough residents, and not in any way connected with the current parties mentioned, we intend to show the ‘objection’ letter is little more than a theatrical marketing device contrived to favour a speculative ‘sometime in the future’ possible development.
9. Clearly this is the core thrust of a considered campaign to recast the perceived value of the NWD future project, possibly to the detriment of existing, immediately viable and fully viable retail and catering, café bar operations already operating and the Council must recognise these as EXISTING major revenue earners in terms of business rates and attracting shoppers, increasing much needed footfall into the City Centre and not simply a qualified claim for something that could well fail as evidenced at Page 7 paragraph 34.
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