Excitement as new funding for University of Peterborough approved

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The latest £365,000 of development money has been released by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority for the University of Peterborough project, which is said to be “on time and on budget”.

Speaking to members of the authority’s Skills Committee at its meeting on Monday (November 11), Kim Cooke, project leader, said: “This planned release of money will provide around £70,000 for planning design and development, while the remainder is for the necessary mobilisation of various activities and services.

Kim Cooke, project leader for the University of Peterborough project

Kim Cooke, project leader for the University of Peterborough project

“The project is on time and on budget and we are moving into a particularly exciting phase with our new on-board project contract managers MACE who will oversee the construction of Phase 1 of the university.

“Towards the end of December we shall be drawing up final plans for the interviewing process of our HE (higher education) partner, and it is expected we can announce who that will be in March 2020.

“The higher education partner is expected to be somebody already working in the field of education and at a level of excellence that we require for the University of Peterborough project.

“Our USP has to be sufficient to attract a different kind of higher education student to Peterborough because we want to give them not just the very best education possible, but the promise of employment and somewhere they can be proud to live after they have graduated.

“That’s a very high bar to set for ourselves, so we have to get these elements that are being put in place now correct first time for everything to work, ready for our initial intake of 2,000 students in September 2022.

“The combined authority has already committed £12.6 million to the University of Peterborough project and we intend to provide our students with not only a stunning campus, second to none that they can be proud of, but also give them that real promise that their qualifications will lead to genuine, sustainable employment in this region.

“And remember, our catchment area is not just Peterborough. We want to attract potential students from an area 50 to 80 miles around Cambridgeshire; that includes Rutland, Leicestershire, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Northamptonshire.

“In order to achieve this our education prospectus must be to the same highest possible standards that we are setting MACE with our construction designs.”

Committee chairman and leader of Peterborough City Council Cllr John Holdich said: “This for me is the most exciting phase of the development so far.

“We’ve had to overcome enormous problems to get to this point, but Phase 1 of the project is now well and truly underway and we’re delighted to have MACE on-board as our project contract managers.

“The money the combined authority have released to the project today – £364,864.85 – will take us to the next part of the construction and design phase as planned.

“The land identified along Bishops Road on the embankment site will be Peterborough City Council’s contribution to Phase 1, build being valued at around £4m.

“In addition, we’re preparing an application to the combined authority’s Business Board’s Local Growth Fund for £12.5 million as an equity investment into a joint venture which will provide an opportunity to include revenue as part of the total £25.1 million fund, rather than just capital.

“Our designers are confident that for a £20 million build budget we can realise a ‘signature building’ of around 3,500 – 4,000sq m and I can’t wait to see it.”

Robert Alexander, Local Democracy Reporting Service