New plans drawn up for multi-million pound Climbing Wall in Peterborough's Ferry Meadows park

Bosses of Peterborough's Nene Park have taken action to overcome objectors' concerns at plans for a huge Climbing Wall in the countryside.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 11:16 am
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 11:22 am
This images show how the planned Nene Park Activity Centre could appear.

Residents and a variety of organisations had submitted more than 100 objections to Nene Park Trust's plans to build a 34.25 metres high Olympic-standard Climbing Wall on the edge of Gunwade Lake in the heart of the 1,725 acre Ferry Meadows parkland.

Objections to the plans submitted in March ranged from concerns about the height and appearance of the facility, called the Nene Park Activity Centre, the generation of extra traffic to a disturbance of wildlife and fears works on a new car park would disturb historic remains.

The concerns prompted the Trust to undertake a review of its plans for its £8 million activity centre and now a revised planning application and more information has been submitted to Peterborough City Council.

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How the Climbing Wall at the Nene Park Activity Centre could appear.

It is hoped council planners will make a decision on the application early next year.

Although the Trust has made a number of changes the height of the structure has not been reduced.

The Trust states: "The core design of the building was reviewed as part of the above work and we remain confident with the proposals, maintaining the highest point of the building at 34.25m, ensuring the best climbing facilities for all and delivering the aspirational architectural vision."

It is estimated the Climbing Wall will be among the tallest buildings in Peterborough but the venture is expected to generate more than £2 million a year for the Peterborough economy.

Matthew Bradbury, the Trust's Chief Executive, said: "We’re confident that our proposed plans for an activity centre at Ferry Meadows offer an exciting development for the city of Peterborough.

“As a charity, our objective is to provide recreation for the public through the Park and its facilities, both for Peterborough’s residents and all our visitors.

"We believe that our revised plans will further allow our visitors to make the most of the Park all year round, building on our 10-year strategy ‘Doing More with More’.

“We’ve listened very carefully to all feedback provided on our original plans and have been in close communication with statutory consultees to provide the additional information required.

"Our continued commitment to this project demonstrates how passionate we are at Nene Park about offering visitors of all ages and interests the chance to keep active and healthy all year round.

"We feel that the proposed activity centre will fulfil this offer to our visitors by adding a much-needed all-weather activity facility for the Park.”

"Climbing is a growing sport across the UK – figures from the Association of British Climbing Walls demonstrate that about one million people currently climb indoors in the UK, and 2020 is an exciting year as climbing becomes an Olympic sport for the first time."

The trust says the changes to the plans include:

Elements of the Landscape Visual Impact Assessment have been revised based on feedback from the the council's Landscape Architect with further photography and landscape modelling undertaken.

Nene Park Trust has liaised further with Historic England and with their support the proposed build-up of the car park has been amended to reduce the amount of excavation taking place and clarify the approach to construction.

An external lighting strategy has been prepared with collaboration between ecologists and engineers to ensure light levels will not cause issues for bats and other wildlife.

Feedback has been reviewed around bird strike and looked at again with our ecologists and council officers.

Minor amendments have been made to the arboriculture reports to make these as clear as possible about the trees affected.

A full transport assessment has been undertaken including traffic surveys and modelling to confirm the initial Transport Statement submitted was correct. This has confirmed that the impact on the surrounding transport infrastructure at peak times will not be significant or reach their capacity thresholds.

Nene Park Trust has reviewed the landscaping plans slightly which has resulted in more cycle parking and identified opportunities for significantly more should there be the demand.

Minor adjustments have been made to the Flood Risk Assessment on feedback from the Environment Agency including some additional design detail.

Further information has been provided on drainage strategy to ensure the council's drainage team is happy with the scheme.