Ensuring that the new major Northminster housing development in the centre of Peterborough has Cathedral views has been placed at the heart of new plans that have been granted outline planning permission this week.
The plans, submitted by Peterborough Investment Partnership Limited, for 315 new residential units, together with two ground floor commercial units, 50 car parking spaces and landscaping works at Laxton Square have been given the green light by planning officers.
Central to those plans was preserving and enhancing the views of the city’s roughly 900-year-old Cathedral. This section has been added to a revised planning statement, after comments from the council’s conservation officer, since the last application was submitted.
The building has been designed into two wings “which are arranged in order to suit the scale of the context and views and environment around the Cathedral.”
The two wings rise to ten storeys high but have been designed to fall below the parapet of the Cathedral to protect the view from London Road Bridge, the Embankment, the A1139 and to the right of the building when viewed from Stanley Park.
The plans also show how a new view will be created from the first floor retail unit, envisaged as a restaurant and bar. This elevated view will be achieved with an indoor seating area and outdoor terrace.
The application states: “This sense of quality within the commercial café/bar/restaurant unit will add a really attractive asset to the city centre, making it truly unique and increasingly desirable place to visit for a coffee, drink or meal.”
It adds: “The redevelopment of the site has great opportunities to, enjoy, enhance and preserve views to the Cathedral which is one of the finest examples of Early English Gothic architecture.
"Our illustrative design embraces this setting and has been shaped by our response to key views.
This shouldn’t mean the views need to remain exactly as they are. In our view, we are well aware of the established cathedral views in Peterborough and as we worked at Fletton Quays with the conservation officer to create new better views and vistas whilst preserving others.
“The Urban Design shape of the building has been developed to provide: active frontage and defined edge to the street along Cattle Market Road and Northminster, strong public realm space – to enhance and expand the public amenity of Laxton Square and generous secure landscaped courtyard at the heart of the scheme.”
Preparations for the new development are already well underway with the former market, which will be moving to Bridge Street, already demolished. Works have also begun at Laxton Square which will see a series of mature trees planted and seating options added. The layout will “respond to key Cathedral views between Monkstone House and the Eco-Innovation Centre, with mature tree planting arranged to frame views and arranged so as not to
block this sight-line. A variety of seating types will be proposed in positions that take advantage of the view.”
The plans can be viewed in full on the council’s planning portal using reference 21/01151/R4OUT.