Dismay at new parking plans for Peterborough university

New parking plans for Peterborough’s forthcoming university have been met with dismay by local residents.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 6:04 am

Homeowners in Bishop’s Road were delighted when proposals to include a 400 space multi-storey at Bishop’s Park were overturned after they highlighted a likely increase in traffic and noise, a loss of green space and a lack of privacy.

But their joy at finding out that the new car park would only be 180 spaces and would be relocated has been dashed after discovering that planners want to keep 200 existing spaces at the Regional Pool, meaning there will be 380 in total.

All of the parking would be at the existing car park, with access off Bishop’s Road.

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Professor Ross Renton, Principal of ARU Peterborough, at the site of the new university at Bishop's Road.
Professor Ross Renton, Principal of ARU Peterborough, at the site of the new university at Bishop's Road.

RELATED: Victory for Peterborough homeowners over proposed 400 space university car park

The proposals have now been recommended for approval by Peterborough City Council’s planners ahead of a meeting next Tuesday where members of the authority’s planning committee will decide whether to approve a new three-storey manufacturing and materials research and development centre for ARU Peterborough.

The centre, if approved, would be anchored by 3D printing specialists Photocentric, with the £16.47 million project providing students with access to cutting-edge manufacturing technologies.

A site plan for ARU Peterborough

Companies would also carry out research into technology which would allow for reduced carbon emissions within business.

Reacting to the latest development, Robert Goodall from Bishop’s Road warned there would be “traffic chaos” if the plans are approved.

He said: “We have to accept the existing 200 space low level capacity park, but feel strongly that the additional 180 spaces should be relocated to avoid further congestion on Bishop’s Road.

“All the problems that applied to the siting of the decked car park on Bishop’s Park will apply to this new proposal, and the congestion, pollution and noise associated with this vast increase in traffic volume still exists.”

Although the scale of the new proposed car park will not be decided at the planning committee meeting, it could be up to three-storeys high.

This would go against a pledge made by former council leader John Holdich (who has since retired) who said the new car park would not be a multi-storey.

Outlining its reasoning behind the plans, the council said additional parking is necessary as the technical university develops, with the first teaching building at the Wirrina Car Park due to open in 2022.

It outlined that 128 additional spaces are required for the new research centre, but that up to 180 extra spaces is “not unacceptable” due to the loss of parking at the Wirrina.

Moreover, the new spaces would be available for the wider public to use.

In total, there have been more than 100 objections to the planning application.

One of the major concerns is traffic, with the new building and car park planned to be accessed via a new T-junction.

The council’s report into the planning application states that the Bishop’s Road/Vineyard Road mini-roundabout and the A15 Rivergate roundabout are likely to exceed capacity by 2026 regardless of the new university, but that the increase at the junctions from the project would be “negligible”.

One proposal which would help mitigate traffic is the promise of temporary bus stops on Bishop’s Road if the plans are approved.

Peterborough Civic Society has also objected to the current planning application, stating that the existing car park is “adequate” for both the teaching building and research centre, and that there is “no necessity” for more parking at this stage.

It added: “Yet again it demonstrates the pitfalls which may be encountered in allowing piecemeal development of the Embankment in advance of a masterplan for the whole area.”

It also criticised the “absence of an overall plan for the campus” which is due to have three teaching buildings and two research centres.

The first 2,000 students are due to begin being taught in 2022, with numbers hitting 12,500 by 2030.

The project is being delivered by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, with Anglia Ruskin running the university.

Applications open in September with the first degrees set to be taught in subjects including: business and marketing, computing and games development, education, engineering, food and environment, health and social care and nursing and midwifery.

A number of degree apprenticeships are also being offered.