Embankment masterplan makes provision for football stadium as part of vision to create 21st century riverside city

The eagerly awaited masterplan that will guide the future of Peterborough’s 70 acre Embankment is published today - and it does make provision for a new football stadium.

By Paul Grinnell
Friday, 25th March 2022, 11:48 am

The suggested Arena, which would contain a new Peterborough United football ground, is sited to the north of the Embankment alongside the new university buildings, is seen as an optional extra.

And the masterplan authors caution that all other locations must be given intense scrutiny before the stadium is allowed to move onto the open green space.

But the focus of the 114 page blueprint, which has been drawn up following more than a month of public consultation, is the vital role the Embankment can play as the ‘heartbeat’ of the city of Peterborough.

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Peterborough Embankment. ENGEMN00120111209144728

It sets out a vision and maps out a path for the transformation of the Embankment in a process that could take decades to complete.

Consultants Barton Wilmore, which have drawn up the document, state that for a long time the open green space of the Embankment has been under-used and marginalised.

‘Once in a liftime opportunity for Peterborough’

But the regeneration of Fletton Quays on the south bank of the River Nene, development at Middleholme and the construction of Peterborough’s university on the opposite side, have given the Embankment a renewed importance.

The Key Theatre could form part of a Cultural Hub, according to the new Embankment masterplan.

They state: “The aim of the Masterplan is to ensure that the Embankment once more plays a full and pivotal role in the lives of Peterborough residents contributing directly to the character, vitality, prosperity and sustainability of the city.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Peterborough to create a new City Riverside through the revitalisation of the Embankment.”

They go on: “Whilst the Embankment is a highly valued open space, it also presents circa 30 acres of under-utilised land that requires an inspiring public realm, greater connectivity links, stronger lighting and security strategies to truly fulfil its potential for the city residents and visitors alike.”

Twenty-first century park

Among the primary goals of the masterplan are to ensure the Embankment becomes a 21st century riverside park with a network of new routes, particularly for walkers and cyclists linking it to the city centre, other green areas and bringing people closer to the waterside.

But the masterplan warns: “At present the scale, design, and character of Bishops Road, Rivergate and Bourges Boulevard act to sever the Embankment from the key area of the city centre and the Cathedral precinct.

ARU Peterborough is nearing completion.

“This masterplan recommends that further work is carried out to investigate how this interface can be improved in the future to fully realise the contribution that this important space can have to the life, health, and wellbeing of Peterborough’s residents.”

A range of new functions and facilities such as cafes and toilets are proposed for the Embankment to encourage more visitors and to encourage them to stay for longer.

New parking adjacent to commercial, food and beverage near the Key Theatre are also proposed.

It adds: “Peterborough Embankment already plays host to a variety of temporary events throughout the year including fairs, concerts and the Peterborough Beer Festival.

“The Embankment design provides space to support these large events alongside new spaces, such as the more intimate Culture Hub Square outside Key Theatre, capable of hosting other alternative ‘pop up’ activities such as entertainers or small markets.

While the masterplan sets out themes for the entire Embankment, it also identifies six individual opportunity sites - Embankment Park and Riverside, the Cultural Hub, Middleholme, City University Campus, The Arena.

It says a rejuvenated Embankment Park could become Peterborough’s premier public park, described as ‘a lushly green place which provides space for a range of events from a family picnic to open air concerts and festivals and the city’s beer festival.’

This is what the new Posh ground might look like.

The riverside becomes a new destination with water-based activities from canal boat mooring to canoe and paddle board pontoons while a restored riverside walk is linked to Fletton Quays with a new pedestrian footbridge.

Bishop’s Road is ‘calmed’ ensuring the park is better connected to the city centre.

It says the creation of a Cultural Hub could consolidate the Lido and Key Theatre. It is proposed to relocate the regional pool to the south of the Lido. Nearby there could be a decked parking facility with workspace/hub/r&d facilities at upper floors and active ground floor uses.

Will there be new cafes and restaurants?

There could also be a restaurant on the south facing riverside setting.

To the park side of the Key Theatre there is a proposal for a community building with modern toilets, shared space for venue hire including wedding parties, space for riverside leisure operators to be based and other support facilities.

The masterplan envisages Middleholme, a former landfill site and which is allocated for 350 houses, could also benefit from convenience retail, café and community facilities.

Architect drawings show the new-look Embankment.

Did the masterplan mention the university?

The university campus, seen as a game changer for the city, is expected to be developed in a number of phases.

The first three phases - an educational centre, a research and development centre and a Living Lab are already in progress. These would be supplemented by associated retail, food and drink, indoor sports and creche facilities.

But later phases are also planned to the south and would include either the renovation and refurbishment of the Regional Pool into an academic/university building or demolition and construction of new university buildings. But this would mean the re-provision of the regional pool would be needed and the masterplan proposes this could be moved in the cultural quarter adjacent to the Lido.

What about Posh?

The masterplan has also factored in the creation of an arena, that would be home to Peterborough United Football Club, for about 20,000 spectators set to the south for the university on the current athletics track.

Such a move, it says, would be dependent on replacement facilities being provided elsewhere in the city in consultation with the Athletics Cub, Sport England, Peterborough City Council and England Athletics. near the Parkway.

The masterplan states: “These proposals would provide a significant destination on the embankment site with a strong visual presence from the parkway and the Riverside.

But it warns: “Care should be taken to evaluate the impacts of the arena on the views of the cathedral and the arena in this setting would need to be of high design standard.”

But the authors are in no doubt about the enormous challenge posed by a transformation of the Embankment.

They state: “The amount of change and new development proposed at the Embankment is significant and will take years to complete.

“The identified Opportunity Areas are relatively independent and can be brought forward separately.

They add: “The Peterborough Embankment Masterplan sets out the overarching vision and strategy for the Embankment that will help target investment decisions, shape new development opportunities and provide a blueprint for the future of this key piece of Peterborough’s urban fabric over the next 10-20 years.”