Ambitious plans for River Nene revamp

The River Nene could be attractive for leisure user. Photo: Peterborough ET
The River Nene could be attractive for leisure user. Photo: Peterborough ET
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AMBITIOUS plans to turn the River Nene in Peterborough into a wealth-creating hub for the city have been unveiled.

The multi-million pound venture proposes a raft of measures to increase commercial and leisure uses on and around the Nene, and to improve links from the waterway into the city centre.

Key features of the blueprint drawn up by the Environment Agency include:

- Construction of an education and research base at Ferry Meadows Country Park

- A new marina

- New moorings along stretches of the river.

- Building a riverside heritage wharf.

- Installation of several hydro-power devices.

- Creation of space for an event and festival arena downstream of the South Bank towards Whittlesey.

The Peterborough Waterspace Strategy also envisages linking Peterborough to Boston and Lincoln via the Fens Waterways Link and on to Ely.

Chris Swain, the Environment Agency’s principal planning officer, said the proposals would bring about a variety of benefits for the economy and environment, as well as for people’s health.

He said: “We will have a much greener and more attractive river in Peterborough that connects much better with the city centre.

“It will mean visitors will associate the city with the river more closely and visit regularly. That improved image helps draw in investment to the river area.”

The strategy has been developed with the support of Peterborough City Council and its success will hinge on a mix of private and public funding sources.

A council spokeswoman said: “One of the main aims of the agency’s strategy was to open discussions around options for the river and raise awareness of its potential.

“Individual ideas contained within the strategy will need further exploration, consultation and detailed viability testing before schemes could be developed.

“The strategy is a useful starting point.

“We hope that in the long-term a wide range of city partners will be able to work together to ensure that the river plays a key part in the development of the city centre.”

Council leader Cllr Marco Cereste welcomed the agency’s aspirations, feeling it would be a chance to make more of the Nene, which he felt was an under-utilised asset in Peterborough.

He said: “We really don’t make much of it at all.

“How many cities are lucky enough to have such a beautiful river running through the centre of it. In a lot of places where they have used the river as a focal point it has worked really well.”

Maxine Palmer, communities team leader from the Peterborough Environment City Trust, welcomed the strategy in light of Peterborough’s ambitions to become an Environment Capital.

“It helps the city be greener, cleaner and healthier, and that’s what the Environment Capital is about,” she said.

Making the most of the Nene

THE Peterborough Waterspace Strategy is just one of a number of large-scale projects designed to make the most of the River Nene.

Peterborough City Council has a sum of £600,000 in its budget for the 2014 financial year for “water taxi infrastructure - park and ride”.

The authority hopes to shuttle thousands of commuters and tourists up and down the River Nene via a “park and glide” river bus.

The cost of the water taxis would be met by external funding as well as with Section 106 money, which is paid by developers to help ease the impact of new projects.

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