Business as usual at Peterborough’s East of England Showground despite speculation over its future

Firework Fiesta at the East of England Arena EMN-170411-213625009
Firework Fiesta at the East of England Arena EMN-170411-213625009

Bosses at the Peterborough Arena and Events Centre have said it is business as normal after ‘unhelpful speculation’ about the future of the site.

Rumours about the future of the showground appeared on social media last night, after Orton Waterville councillor Julie Howell posted she had attended a meeting about the future of the site with fellow councillor Nicola Day.

Peterborough’s Local Plan has proposed the building of hundreds of new homes on the site - although the arena itself would stay. The plans would not be put into place until ‘the late 2020s’ at the earliest.

The venue is home to some of the biggest events in Peterborough, including Truckfest, The East of England Show, the Tour of Cambridgeshire cycle race and Firework Fantasia.

Today Jason Lunn, venue director said: “The East of England Arena and Events Centre remains fully committed to delivering all scheduled and booked events, despite unhelpful speculation about the future of the site.

“The Agricultural Society, The East of England Arena and Peterborough Council have been jointly exploring options for the continuation of all activities at the site, and do not anticipate any changes, whatsoever, to the current arrangements until the late 2020s.”

The Peterborough Panthers speedway team, which races at the showground, have also said they expect to be racing at the venue for many years.

Owner Keith Chapman said: “We are in dialogue with the management at the Showground who have kept us in touch with developments.

“Whatever happens, it’s not an overnight situation. I fully expect the sport to continue at the venue for the next few seasons without actually putting a timescale on it.

“The Showground have been superb in keeping me updated and have been reassuring. There will be Speedway there next year.”

The speculation comes after the East of England Showground was listed as an area of potential development in Peterborough City Council’s Local Plan document.

The document says: “Within the East of England Showground, as defined on the Policies Map, the following uses will be supported in principle, subject to, if the proposal is of a significant scale, an approved masterplan for the Showground:

- Facilities directly related to the function of shows on the Showground itself;

- Conference facilities (D1 and D2);

- Employment related development;

- Residential development of around 650 dwellings.

“Proposals for development should not have an unacceptable adverse impact on the surrounding uses (especially on occupiers of nearby residential properties), and all development should ensure that the character of the area is maintained. A comprehensive master plan in advance of, or alongside, any significant proposals will be required and, if approved by the council in advance, this would become a material consideration

in the determination of future planning applications. Such a master plan must demonstrate how the functioning Showground will be retained. The loss of any existing leisure and sports facilities will not be supported unless replacement facilities are provided in accordance with policy LP30.”

The East of England Showground proposals are listed on page 92 of the Local Plan. You can read the plan by visiting https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/council/planning-and-development/planning-policies/local-development-plan/#Policies_DPD_CoreStrategy