New bridge over River Nene planned for Peterborough’s Embankment

A new bridge over the River Nene on the Embankment is part of the city’s bid to the government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund.

By Mark Edwards
Friday, 7th August 2020, 8:14 am
The Millennium bridge on the North Bank of River Nene. The city is bidding for another cycle and pedestrian bridge over the river on the Embankment.
The Millennium bridge on the North Bank of River Nene. The city is bidding for another cycle and pedestrian bridge over the river on the Embankment.

Peterborough was chosen as one of the 100 towns and cities the government wants to invest in through its Towns Fund and this week the city submitted its bid for £25m.

The bid will cover a number of projects including creating a masterplan for the Embankment with a new bridge that would be used by pedestrians and cyclists.

A bridge for pedestrians and cyclists over the river near Fletton Quays has long been called for.

In July, 2017, the PT launched a campiagn to ‘Build the bridge’ to support calls from Peterborough Civic Society to include a bridge in the Fletton Quays development.

Since then repeated calls have been made to include the much-needed crossing in the city’s university plans.

For the past six months, the newly-formed Peterborough Towns Board has been working on a detailed application for part of the £3.6 billion fund, announced by the government at the end of 2019.

The bid to government includes funding totalling nearly £25million to support a range of projects in areas such as urban regeneration, planning, land use, connectivity, skills and enterprise infrastructure.

Views and opinions were obtained from organisations and individuals across the city for this.

Building on the successes of Fletton Quays and the new Peterborough University, the application states that it aims to support the planned future growth of Peterborough – while ensuring the wellbeing of its residents, boosting visitor numbers and adhering to the city’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030.

If successful, the money will be spent on projects in five key areas building upon the recently published development framework. These are:

- Riverside Development and Connections – Creating a masterplan for the Embankment, the new University campus and Middleholme that protects the quality of open green space, and designing and building an additional bridge across the river for pedestrians and cyclists connecting the north and south of the city.

- New and improved visitor and cultural attractions - Creating new library and cultural facilities for the city, and improved visitor attractions, including a national Bronze Age themed extension to the Town Museum and a lakeside activity centre at Ferry Meadows.

- Opening up the Station Quarter - Creating a welcoming route from the city’s train station into the city centre to make this journey easy for visitors to navigate by foot or bike and creating space for the development of new homes and offices.

- Enterprise and Skills infrastructure – The creation of a new enterprise training and business incubation hub to support new city businesses and start-ups, and a training centre for green technology skills, aimed towards the construction and automotive sectors.

- Future green city - Creating safer, easily accessible routes for pedestrians and cyclists to the train station and city centre from key sites around the city, and better public realm spaces to support the wellbeing of residents and helping the city to move towards the goal of becoming carbon neutral.

Peterborough is in the first group of cities to submit applications. It is expected that the government will review these over the next two months and make decisions on bids this autumn following which a ‘Town Deal’ will be agreed to enable funding to be released for the detailed development and implementation of approved projects.

Matthew Bradbury, independent chair of the Peterborough Towns Board, said: “The time really is now for Peterborough. Our economy has begun to bounce back from the lockdown.

“Investment in Peterborough continues to be strong with a lot of new development planned, or already underway.

“The Towns Fund offers an opportunity to develop the infrastructure the city will need to support its growth, promote the wellbeing of residents, encourage further business investment and move the city closer to its goal of becoming carbon neutral.”

Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “We want to build a Peterborough for the future, one that our children and grandchildren can be proud to live in.

“Our city has a rich heritage and a diverse, yet unified population. With Government funding support we can make our community even stronger and create a city of growth, prosperity and opportunity.”

Toby Wood, from Peterborough Civic Society, which was vocal in supporting calls for a new bridge across the River Nene said: .“The bridge would be a perfect example of what can be achieved when we set our minds to it in Peterborough.

“It would also help to co-ordinate what is happening in the city centre.

“The Civic Society hopes that those on the Towns Fund board will continue to seek the views of Peterborough people about how to spend the money.”