Scaffolding is still up and construction work is continuing at breakneck speed - but the first major landmark step has been taken in the life of Peterborough’s newest development.
Council staff moved into new offices at the £120 million Fletton Quays development earlier this month, with more than 1,000 workers taking the short hop from Bayard Place and the Town Hall to new site.
While residents will notice no difference - for the short term at least - with services still offered at Bayard Place, and council meetings still being housed in the grand Town Hall - for the council itself it is the start of a new era.
Staff are still settling into the new office, with new ways of working being introduced - but Peterborough City Council leader cllr John Holdich said the move from the established Town Hall was important.
He said: “The Town Hall was finished in 1933. It hasn’t really been updated in that time, and we would have had to spend a lot of money on it.
“By moving to Fletton Quays we can kick start this development, bring in jobs and really bring confidence to this part of the city.
“The building is owned by an insurance company and we are renting it, but the project will be self sufficient once we get the Town Hall and other buildings completely let.”
“This land has been empty for 30 years and going nowhere. It was only about two years ago we decided to go with a private developer, and we have delivered.
Last week it was confirmed coffee shop Bewiched and bakery Greggs will both be opening branches next to the council’s offices, as part of the next stage of the development. A Hilton Gardens Hotel has also been planned, to go along with the 328 flats and a gin and whiskey distillery which are also being built. An arts hub is being installed in the old sheds at the site.
Cllr Holdich said the success of Fletton Quays would show developers can make other proposals in the city a success.
He said; ““We have altered the skyline, and it makes us look a modern and welcoming place.
“Look at the value it has added to the city - the amount of council tax it will bring in, the amount of jobs it will bring in, it will regenerate this part of the city.
“Our next move will be to look at North Westgate.
“It is a cliche that it sends a message that Peterborough is open for business. We can develop with a partner, North Westgate in the same way.”
Work is expected to continue at the new development into 2020.
One of the criticisms for the development has been the installation of ‘sun loungers’ facing north - away from the sun.
However, cllr Holdich said the wooden bench style loungers were facing that way to give views of Peterborough Cathedral, rather than the council offices, a car park, or the train line.
He said if the development was how his spell as leader of Peterborough City Council was remembered, he would be proud.
He said: “If on my gravestone when I die they put I was instrumental in kick starting Fletton Quays I would be very proud.”
The Peterborough Telegraph was also given a tour of the show flat in the Weston Homes apartment blocks.
The flat - with two en suite bedrooms - includes a balcony, 750 square foot, which is typical of the flats on offer.
Assistant Sales Manager Julia Nally said: “It has been very busy. We have hit the 100 sale mark. We have done well to hit that mark.
“We get a lot of visitors through the door every week. People are so interested about what is going on.”
2015: Planning consent granted for Fletton Quays
January 2017: Work begins
July 2017: Arts Council England announce £490,000 grant towards new Arts Hub
September 2017: Plans confirmed for Hilton Garden Inn
January 2018: Weston Homes apartment sale launch event
January 2018: Nene Distillery announce plans for gin and whisky distillery and restaurant
September 2018: Council moves into Fletton Quays
2019: First residents expected to move in to apartments
2020: Work set to be completed