Council warned to drop Posh move to Embankment to save golden opportunity for Peterborough

Peterborough City Council is being urged to abandon plans to move the Posh stadium to the Embankment to save a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city.

By Paul Grinnell
Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 2:11 pm

The call has come from urban planners at LDA Design, in Minster Precincts, who say the Embankment offers a rare chance to reshape the city by opening it out into the Fens and maximising the combined potential of parkland, heritage and university.

They warn that allowing Peterborough United Football Club to move its stadium from London Road to the Embankment will kill off that potential.

The warning is contained in a new blueprint drawn up by LDA Design for the future use of the Embankment.

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The Embankment nature park.

It comes as independent consultants appointed by the council consider the results of a month-long public consultation on its four options for a masterplan designed to prevent the piecemeal development of the Embankment.

But LDA Design warns that the council’s options are an ‘exercise’ in moving buildings and says a proposed move of the football stadium to the Embankment ‘will kill the place’.

It also wants the running track to remain and to be transformed into an elite training centre.

It asks if the Indoor Pool could be repurposed as a new cultural destination with a ‘brilliant’ rooftop bar.

The outline plan for Peterborough Embankment.

It says current proposals will fail to create the quality of place that would attract brilliant students, staff and investment.

Central to the LDA Design vision is making a full and proper use of the landscape.

It states: “We have analysed the current masterplan options and believe there are fresh opportunities that should be considered.

It says the future of the Embankment should be moulded so that it ‘invites in the Fens’

Detailed masterplan for the Embankment in Peterborough.

It states: “The Embankment provides a unique chance to connect the historic heart of the city and its cathedral with the infinite horizon of the Fens.

“The current masterplan options focus on the positioning of buildings on the site.

“The University and the stadium and other facilities are critical to the city’s economic and cultural future.

“But masterplan options should not be exercises in moving around giant pieces of furniture around a site to see what works.

“The big opportunity is the park itself. It is the key to the site and should not just be treated as an open space in the middle of buildings, to act as their backdrop.”

LDA Design also says the Embankment offers a chance to ‘respond in a visionary way’ to the climate emergency.

It adds: “The redesign of the Embankment should be the trigger for the creation of a sustainable and healthy place for people, not traffic.

“It presents the opportunity to capture carbon and to boost nature recovery with a wetland park at scale.

“This is such an important moment. Here is the opportunity to reduce and even capture carbon at scale and to boost nature recovery.

“We should start by breaching the barriers formed by the city’s inner ring road, Bourges Boulevard and Bishop’s Road, by narrowing road space, slowing traffic down and creating more crossings for pedestrians and cyclists.

“Bridge Street and Rivergate need to become places for people rather than traffic.”

“A new masterplan for the Embankment should find ways to improve and grow Peterborough FC’s current grounds.

“A new stadium located on the Embankment will kill the whole space, stone dead.

“First, because of the amount of land taken both for the building and what it would need to operate, from hardstanding for crowds entering an exiting and car parking, to service and access routes.

“All this limits the amount of meaningful green space that would be left.

“Second, it will be a dominating structure that is rarely used, so for most of the time it would not contribute to the activity or liveliness of the place.”

LDA Design say the city centre is already changing fast, with a young and growing population moving in.

It says: “The Embankment masterplan should aim to revolutionise city centre living and bring huge health and well-being benefits to everyone.

“It should aim to inspire a new University and re-invigorate much-loved cultural and recreational assets like the Lido and the Key Theatre.”

A spokesperson for LDA Design said: “We are volunteering our ideas, which have been shared with the council, because we are a business based in the heart of the city for the past 43 years and our team includes residents of the city, and we have a vested interest in the future of the place.

“We see the huge potential which the Embankment Masterplan could offer the city.”

The company’s key and current projects are - transformation of Cathedral Square and surrounding pedestrian streets, public realm strategy and the Station Quarter masterplan.

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