The main campus for the proposed University of Peterborough is likely to be built on and around The Embankment.
The site has emerged as the frontrunner for the new campus ahead of other potential sites at North Westgate (north of Queensgate Shopping Centre) and Wellington Street Car Park in Eastgate.
Putting the campus in land north of Castor has previously been considered, but this now looks to be off the table.
Using land off Bishop’s Road for the campus would see the Regional Fitness and Swimming Centre refurbished and would encroach onto the Embankment, but Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich said there would still be plenty of green space for the public to enjoy.
He told the Peterborough Telegraph: “This seems to be everybody’s favourite choice.
“We could refurbish the swimming pool and add other facilities without taking huge chunks of the green area.
“This won’t be the whole unit for 12,500 students, and as we progress we will need another site.”
Yesterday, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority approved £6.5 million to progress the application for an independent university in Peterborough, which is scheduled to replace University Centre Peterborough (UCP) from 2022.
The money includes £3 million for developing UCP’s curriculum, £1 million for improving student facilities and £1.7 million for securing and refurbishing interim accommodation with the student population set to rise from 800 to 3,000 by 2022.
New courses are expected to begin next year. Cllr Holdich, a deputy mayor on the combined authority, said: “They will be permanent courses based on what Peterborough’s needs are which we are finding out through businesses and stakeholders.”
Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer, who chairs the combined authority, said: “It’s about bringing growth and businesses to the city, but primarily to provide education to those who can’t afford to leave to be educated and stopping the brain drain of people leaving the Peterborough area.
“Where you have a strong university people often stay in the city to work.
“This is not a quick fix, it’s a long term plan to make people’s lives better.”