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23 May 2002

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City's business reputation strengthens



Peterborough’s reputation as a good business location with a high quality lifestyle is strengthening, according to a study commissioned by English Partnerships.

Research organisation B&MR is conducting a rolling programme of research among 150 business people from all sizes of companies in different industry sectors to evaluate how Peterborough is perceived for its business and lifestyle benefits. The research aims to plot changes in perception in response to advertising and other promotional activity.

Initial benchmark research was conducted among 100 business people last autumn, with two follow-up surveys during the periods January to March and April to June. In each case any changes in perceptions about Peterborough are being compared with attitudes towards Cambridge to eliminate the influence of extraneous factors, such as national events.

When asked to rate Peterborough on a scale of from one to ten against a range of attributes, the average of all respondents’ replies reveals the following changes over nine months:

  • Peterborough’s score for a good/high quality of life has risen from 6 to 6.3.

  • Peterborough’s reputation for fast travel to work times rose from 5.8 to 6.9.

  • Peterborough’s status as a good location for growth-minded companies achieved a score of 6.8 - up from 6.3 in the first wave of research.

  • When asked about availability of labour, respondents have raised Peterborough’s score from 6.0 to 6.4.

  • Peterborough’s score as a hi-tech city has risen from the benchmark level of 4.6 to 5.1.

There has also been a significant rise in the percentage of respondents who rate Peterborough’s benefits with a score of seven or higher.

Gloria Milne, chief executive of Greater Peterborough Investment Agency, said: “These results are very encouraging but we need to persevere with our marketing activities to reinforce the favourable messages about Peterborough. While Cambridge and Peterborough are quite different cities with a different business base, they both co-operate in building the region’ s economic strength.

“These survey results emphasise that Peterborough and Cambridge offer complementary opportunities and that companies seeking to expand in Cambridgeshire can consider Peterborough as a credible alternative.

“In some areas - such as affordable housing and low employment costs - Peterborough’s score has slipped back slightly, even though it is still rated much higher than Cambridge. Further work needs to be done to persuade more companies to consider Peterborough as a primary relocation destination.”

The survey reveals some mixed perceptions about Peterborough still persist. One respondent described Peterborough as ‘very downmarket and not thriving’ and another said it was ‘a good distribution area but more of a middle class sort of place’. However, someone else said it was ‘an up and coming place of the future with plenty of development and expansion’ and another said ‘it is good for labour and workforce’.

The results of a further wave of research will be available in the autumn.

August 2001

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