New footbridge part of ambitious plans

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AN iconic footbridge linking the traditional heart of the city and the new South Bank is among a list of 31 ambitious projects set to propel Peterborough into a new era.

AN iconic footbridge linking the traditional heart of the city and the new South Bank is among a list of 31 ambitious projects set to propel Peterborough into a new era.The eye-catching multi-million pound structure would connect The Embankment and the South Bank regeneration area, while a second bridge would span the Peterborough to Ely railway line.

The South Bank is one of the major winners after the Government allocated a handout of 17.5 million to assist Peterborough's growth.

As well as two bridges, a slice of the money will go towards creating an eco-friendly housing estate on the site, in an initiative which will further boost the city's aspiration to be the UK's environment capital.

Elsewhere, the Growth Area Funding (GAF) could part-fund a park and ride facility in Hampton, the realignment of Bourges Boulevard to improve pedestrian links between the train station and city centre and a feasibility study on establishing an arena on the site of the defunct Wirrina youth club.

And Peterborough will attempt to shake-off its low-wage, low skill economy tag by investing in a centre for digital excellence to hone high-tech industries and a university business centre.

Meanwhile, the GAF means the Hampton township will see greater investment in the Hampton Joint Service Centre, which will feature GP and dentistry services, a library, church and creche.

Today, city council leader councillor John Peach said: "While these projects won't happen overnight, you could say we have reached fever pitch with things beginning to happen.

"By next year, we should all see improvements in Cathedral Square and the bridge works in London Road have opened up access to the South Bank.

"It goes to show that we mean business and the sooner we can take things forward the better."

Opportunity Peterborough (OP) chief executive Steve Compton added: "We have identified the priority projects that will drive forward the growth of Peterborough. The money that we have received from Government also shows that Peterborough is getting deserved recognition."

Calling the regeneration of the South Bank "critical", Mr Compton said the plans for a carbon neutral estate would bolster Peterborough's environment capital claim.

The 17.5 million GAF allocation was initially announced in December 2007, and the city council and OP have spent the last six months deciding on the 31 schemes that will be part-funded or exclusively-funded by the handout.