A 30 year ‘carbuncle’ looks finally set to be removed from the Peterborough landscape after a £120 million revamp of Fletton Quays was given the go ahead.
Minor applause even broke out as the decision was unanimously made to push ahead with an outline application for 280 high-end flats, a 160-bed hotel and offices, as well as restaurant, retail and leisure facilities.
The decision by Peterborough City Council’s Planning Committee today (Tuesday, December 8) was made with plenty of enthusiasm by councillors despite criticism from the Peterborough Civic Society that the plans were uninspiring.
David Turnock, the group’s chairman, told committee members that although the plans to develop the south bank site were welcome, “they will not give this neglected part of Peterborough the transformation it has long been waiting for.”
Mr Turnock asked: “Where is the magnet that will attract people to the area?”
And when Councillor David Harrington questioned whether it was worth accepting the scheme in front of them rather than “wait for utopia to arrive”, Mr Turnock declared: “There’s no other site in Peterborough like this. It can make or break the city. It’s key we get this right.”
However, Mr Turnock’s concerns, which included access to the site, did not sway councillors to follow his advice and defer the application.
The plans were put forward by the Peterborough Investment Partnership - a joint venture between the council and Lucent Strategic Land Fund to deliver investment in the city - and speaking on its behalf was Cllr Peter Hiller who is also the cabinet member for growth, planning, housing and economic development.
Stating that “it’s very easy to be an armchair critic,” Cllr Hiller claimed the application was a “landmark development opportunity for our city,” before adding, “I know the future generations will look at this splendid site with pride.”
Cllr Hiller also said investors were already interested in getting involved on the site. This prompted Cllr Harrington to ask for the press and public to be excluded so committee members could hear information as to whether the site was commercially viable.
The exclusion was unanimously agreed, and after the break Cllr Harrington gave his approval for the scheme following on from Cllr Nigel North who said he was “very impressed” by the plans, and Cllr Lucia Serluca, who said she was “bursting with pride.”
The application was given the full backing of the committee, and a clause was added in to leave space for a footbridge over the river which may be included into the plans at a later date.
A quay for boats to come into the site, and outdoor space for arts activities, could also be a feature at Fletton Quays when the development is complete.
The site is situated between the Nene and the Peterborough to March railway line and has previously been described as a ‘carbuncle’ by council leader Cllr John Holdich who expressed his pleasure at the big redevelopment.
He said: “This is great news for Peterborough. We continue to be one of the UK’s fastest growing cities and the Fletton Quays development will provide further new investment, job opportunities and growth as well as transforming this derelict site.”
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