Peterborough university quarter with sports and culture links considered for government’s Levelling Up Fund

Funding bids for a new Peterborough university quarter with links to sporting and cultural facilities could be submitted to the Government.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 4:59 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 6:37 am

ARU Peterborough is set to open in 2022 and eventually cater for 12,500 students a year, with the campus by the Embankment boasting three teaching buildings and two research centres.

Peterborough has been
chosen as one of 45 towns or cities which can bid for a share of the Government’s new £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, with each constituency area allowed to make a single application.

And according to a new report from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority - the county’s mayoral body - one of the projects under consideration is phase three of the university project.

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A site plan for ARU Peterborough

This would see the creation of a second teaching building with a curriculum focused on: sports science, art and design, creative, and digital and architecture.

This also includes the provision of a number of new public culture and sports facilities, as well improvements to the Embankment athletics track and links between the new university and the city’s main museum, library and the Key Theatre.

The report says this is all with “the intent of creating a university quarter able to integrate and enhance public access to sports and cultural facilities”.

It added that getting funding now is “essential to sustain momentum in student number growth, so as to reach a total of 5,500 students by 2027, and with it a commercially sustainable business model”.

The first teaching building is scheduled to open next year and be at full capacity in 2024.

Therefore, the second facility will need to open in 2025 to meet the forecast student numbers.

Bids to the fund can be up to £20 million for regeneration projects and up to £50 million for transport schemes.

Submissions will need to be made to the Government by June 18. These are required to have “evidence of physical build commencement by March 31, 2022 and completion by March 31, 2024.”

Bids from Fenland will also prioritised, with the decision on which projects to put forward chosen by local authorities.

Three projects in Wisbech - regeneration of Horsefair Shopping Centre, redevelopment of the former Phoenix Hotel site, and development of a Wisbech Business Park - are currently under consideration.

A call for proposals has already been issued by Peterborough City Council.

The combined authority’s Business Board is due to spend £60,000 on supporting the regeneration bids, on top of £125,000 of funding made available by the Government to both Peterborough City Council and Fenland District Council.

Peterborough is planning to make additional bids to the fund in the future once the first round of applications is completed.