Excitement as new University of Peterborough plans go on display for first time
The plans for the new University of Peterborough have been unveiled at a ceremony held in the Almoner’s Hall at Peterborough Cathedral.
The plans were unveiled by metro mayor James Palmer, leader of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, and the leader of Peterborough City Council Cllr John Holdich, at a public exhibition on Tuesday.
The new technical university at the Embankment is set to open in October 2022 to 2,000 students with numbers increasing to 12,500 by 2030.
The first three faculties of the university are set to include business, innovation entrepreneurship and professional services; information technology, digital and creative services and agri-tech and environmental services.
Planned future faculties include health and social care, engineering, manufacturing and advanced manufacturing.
Courses will be delivered through a mixture of lessons on the campus, in-work training and apprenticeships, with distance learning to improve accessibility and widen participation.
Initially, at the new campus there will be a collection of buildings for teaching and learning space, as well as a library and, most likely, a café.
Student accommodation will follow at a later date.
Tuesday saw residents in Peterborough for the first time be able to find out more about the plans for the project, including building designs, floor plans and an artist’s impression of the future campus at the Embankment.
At the exhibition Mayor Palmer said: “What an exciting day this is for the people of Peterborough. For as long as I can remember people here have had a passion for, and been speaking about, a university in Peterborough.
“Finally, this city will get the education facility that it deserves – the combined authority have said all along that we would support the plans to build a university in Peterborough, and here we are.
“We’ve used the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough economic review as the basis for formulating this university and it will be the first technical university of its kind in the United Kingdom.
“It will therefore deliver a career-path for Peterborough people and the students who will be coming here from autumn 2022. They will have a local technical university where they can study, linked to a career path which I think is an extraordinary thing.
“We are in partnership with the city council, and what we have here is something quite incredible – a piece of land right in the centre of the city that the city council have very generously put forward to the university.
“Now what that means in real terms is not only a fantastic location with the most wonderful views of the cathedral and the river, but this university will totally affect the daily life and night life of the city as a whole, boosting industries far and wide, accommodation for students, entertainment facilities and food outlets – the list is endless.
“We at the combined suthority very much see that this £25 million investment into phase one, which we are here today to unveil to the public, is a catalyst for the future investment for this city.”
Cllr Holdich has been a long-time champion of the idea of a University of Peterborough, and said: “I’m so proud to be here today to unveil these magnificent plans to the people of this city as this is their university and I am certain it will bring nothing but change for the good to all who see it and use.
“I think it was something like eight and half years ago that Cllr Marco Cereste and I were sitting having a chat over a cup of tea when we first came up with the idea for a university here in Peterborough.
“At that time it was just a dream of course, but here we are today, surrounded by the press and public to see these wonderful plans which are no longer just a dream – this is real, it really is happening and we will be breaking soil in the autumn to start construction of the phase one buildings you see here today.
“I want to thank so many people for all the help and support that they have given me during what has, at times, been a rocky road. But special thanks must go to Mayor Palmer and the combined authority for believing in this project from day one when I mentioned it to him, and of course for finding the funds to make it a reality.
“I would also like to thank John Hill, project manager for all his input and support as well the architect’s team who have produced these wonderful impressions for the public to scrutinise and see and of course comment on.
“I think it was the Peterborough Telegraph who christened the building the ‘Toblerone’, but I still think it looks like a ship on the river with sails aloft. I’m told the bits on the top are all part of modern building design and that they are in fact light shafts to help illuminate inside.
“Peterborough really is the place to be, and Peterborough’s going to be an even better place to be in the future.”
The exhibition will remain on show free and open to the public at the Almoner’s Hall, Peterborough Cathedral, on Wednesday and Thursday from 2pm to 7pm.
Robert Alexander, Local Democracy Reporting Service