Opinion: ‘Why we will fight for Peterborough’s Embankment’

The Save Peterborough Embankment Group is campaigning against major developments on thecity’s Embankment. Here they outline their concerns following a recent webinar on Peterborough United’s stadium proposals...

By The Newsroom
Monday, 3rd May 2021, 4:59 am
The club hopes Peterborough United's new stadium on the Embankment could open in the next few years.
The club hopes Peterborough United's new stadium on the Embankment could open in the next few years.

Firstly, we wish Posh luck ahead of Saturday’s match... we do recognise the important role they play in the city and the benefits a new stadium would bring to Peterborough

However, the recent Peterborough Conservative Party and Peterborough United joint webinar failed to answer any of the questions submitted by the group members.

It was a publicity stunt and no representative of the club or Conservative Party have faced live on-the-spot questioning over the project from its opponents.

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Our primary concern has always been that any publicly-owned Green space should not fall into private hands.

It is not the council’s land, they are merely caretakers, the land is owned by every single resident of Peterborough. We would ask the council where it will find a replacement for this green space to purchase with the money made in the Embankment sale?

If we have learnt anything from the current pandemic, it is that access to large amounts of green space is vital for people’s mental health and wellbeing, especially in a city centre with a growing number of apartments without access to private outdoor green space.

Additionally, we are concerned that a local football club is promoting a political party ahead of local elections. We are not anti-Posh or anti-new stadium, we just think the club should purchase a privately-owned Brownfield site.

The stadium would not be owned by the football club, it would be owned by private businessmen; they will profit from any additional events held there and not the club, or indeed the city.

We do not believe the possibility of developing and expanding the London Road site has been explored thoroughly and neither have alternative privately-owned sites, such as the former greyhound stadium.

No public money should be put into this development.

The area we are talking about is around 20 acres. The 70 acres mentioned by the businessman in the video includes the Lido, Regional Pool, etc, so to say they wish to build on “nine acres out of 70 acres” seem a deliberately misleading statement. Further to this, the MOU signed by the council and PUFC states the club will need a space of: “at least 11.5 acres.” This is most of the field we do not wish to see developed.

The arguments that there is plenty of green space at Central Park and Ferry Meadows is also irrelevant to this debate. Central Park is full, it’s obvious to anybody that visits that there is not enough Green space there to adequately serve the residents of PE1. Ferry Meadows is inaccessible to those without a car and is also very busy.

The council is responsible for that space. If it wished to see it used or wished to see anti-social behaviour stopped, it has had ample opportunity over the past 20 years to address this.

The Green space in question is part of an important wildlife corridor, part of which has been lost to the Fletton Quays development. No more of it can disappear.

A spokesperson for the Save Peterborough Embankment Committee said: “I have spoken to several residents who no longer visit either Central Park or Ferry Meadows as they are too busy. They also stated their fears of anti-social behaviour at both spaces.

“With no housing developments coming to Peterborough, we need more Green space not less. Why is the city council failing to address this?

“Concreting over a Green space would make a mockery of the city’s environmental aspirations. Any sustainability claims on the part of the stadium will merely be an example of Greenwashing in an attempt to win planning permission.

“We were disappointed at the contempt the businessmen behind Peterborough United have shown to local people’s concerns about the development.

“The divisive and unnecessarily political webinar was a slap in the face and strengthened our resolve against this deliberately controversial choice of location.

“Our group will not end when this application is defeated, as we will continue to work toward enhancing the space.

We aim to explore every possible avenue in order to stop this development – we are prepared for a long battle.”