A Peterborough city view worth preserving

One of the highlights of my life is supporting Peterborough United through thick and thin, through times happy and grim, writes Toby Wood, from the Peterborough Civic Society.

Monday, 27th May 2019, 7:00 am
A view of Peterborough Cathedral
A view of Peterborough Cathedral

Posh is like an old jumper – warm, familiar and sometimes full of holes, the sort of jumper that your wife sometimes says to you, “why don’t you just give up and throw it away?”

Thankfully my wife Irene and I share a common love for Posh and we have season tickets on the back row of the top tier of the family stand. In fact this is the highest place you can sit in the stadium and therefore possibly the most elevated in Peterborough (until Posh get a new ground that is!). From our seats we can see across towards the hospital to the west and the fens out towards Whittlesey to the east. To the north we have been able to catch glimpses of the top of the Cathedral but, sadly, these are now disappearing due to the Fletton Quays development.

Nearly twenty years ago the Civic Society undertook a Cathedral views project. This was as simple as it sounds – a collection of views of our wonderful cathedral from all possible viewpoints. The objective of the project was simple – any planner, builder or developer needing to know which views are to be preserved could access the document and see at a glance which views are sacrosanct.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

However, as with most documents, this soon became out of date. Indeed the original Cathedral views document was paper only.

Consequently the Council and Civic Society recently both agreed that a new version was needed. Society members have been busy finding all the existing, and any new views. We undertook an initial winter assessment with no leaves on the trees to obscure the views and now we are in the process of taking the same views with abundant spring/summer foliage.

The study has thrown up some very interesting new views, a couple of which are temporary and which readers might like to see for themselves before they disappear. The demolition of Bridge Street police station has meant that a splendid view of the south face of the Cathedral can now be had by standing on the river bridge close to the entrance to Charters (see accompanying photo). Once the new Premier Inn is built this view will once again be obscured, possibly for another fifty years or more. Likewise, there is a distant but nevertheless spectacular view to be had from Hawksbill Way, just over the river bridge as you walk towards the entrance to the football ground. This is another view soon to disappear as Fletton Quays grows.

With the Embankment site designated as the new University campus we need to ensure that the “classic” view of the Cathedral from the south west is not obscured by overly tall buildings.

It is hoped that, once the survey is complete, it will be accessible online for individuals as well as organisations to access. Watch this space!

Posh may well have a brand new football stadium in the next few years and fans have been told that it may remain close to the city centre. If this is the case, Irene and I will be the first in the queue to purchase season tickets as high as we can in the new stadium as long as we can have another wonderful Cathedral view!