An ambitious bid has been submitted for £48 million of Government money to kickstart Peterborough’s Station Quarter development in a move that is seen as transformative for the entire county.
The application has been put together by a partnership of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Peterborough City Council, Network Rail and LNER and if successful is expected to attract additional match funding to bring the total budget up to £65 million.
In turn that will open up further private investment in commercial and residential development as a further phase of the Station Quarter programme.
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The bid, which will bring new jobs and businesses to the city and enhance connectivity in the city and with the surrounding area, has been submitted to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Peterborough MP Paul Bristow has been chosen to lead a debate in the House of Commons on September 6 to enhance awareness and support from ministers and civil servants.
If the bid is approved it will allow the creation of a new western entrance to the station with a car park – to create a double-sided station – with a new wider footbridge over the train lines.
This will ease pressure on city centre roads, making it easier and safer to travel around the city by bicycle.
A state-of-the-art station gateway building is expected to sit alongside new offices and retail facilities
New green areas with biodiversity, community spaces and better connections to the city centre will make it safer and more attractive for bikes and pedestrians.
In addition, the enhancement of Peterborough Train Station will improve rail passenger journeys and encourage more rail travel, which will have a positive economic impact on the city and regionally, as the city is already well connected to key areas of Eastern England and the rest of the UK.
It will support Peterborough in attracting more knowledge-intensive and high-level employers through its transport links.
What are the politicians saying?
Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, said: "Regenerating the Station Quarter would uplift not just the city but the whole of Cambridgeshire and beyond, helping take the east of England to a new level, and making Peterborough itself greener and ever more welcoming to visitors, investors, and businesses.
“The Combined Authority has worked closely on the bid with Peterborough City Council, which will drive the enterprise forward if the pitch wins through."
Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, leader of the city council, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our city centre.
"It will cut carbon emissions and make our city easier and safer to walk around, while stimulating business and providing economic benefit to our city – both during and after construction.”
Paul Bristow, MP for Peterborough, said: "I will be going to Westminster to make the case for Peterborough in front of the decision makers.
"I will be leading a debate in the House of Commons on September 6 to effectively bat for Peterborough and to explain to ministers and civil servants how this will be transformative for Peterborough and the surrounding area.
"I will spell out exactly what this means for Peterborough.”
Mr Bristow added: “Peterborough is the gateway to the East of England and the Station Quarter is the gateway to the city - It is vitally important that the Station Quarter and the station itself is fit for purpose.
“This is a chance to use this prime asset to bring jobs, retail and other visitors to our city.
"If we get this right, I can see new businesses and even another government hub coming to Peterborough.”
Stephen Hind, Head of Business Development at Network Rail, said: “This brilliant investment would allow us to deliver a revamped and revitalised entrance to Peterborough.
“The major transformation would unlock opportunities for the city to thrive economically, as well as recognising the need for a cleaner, greener transport network in the future.”
An LNER spokesperson said: “LNER is pleased to support this redevelopment bid as part of plans to transform and enhance Peterborough Station Quarter, bringing benefits for customers, the community and wider Cambridgeshire and Peterborough areas.”
When will we find out if the bid has been successful?
A decision by the DLUHC is expected by the autumn.
If successful, it is expected that an outline business case and planning application will be submitted for the Peterborough Station Enhancements and Connectivity project next year.
Existing proposals for the Great Northern Hotel will be incorporated into the plans.
Construction work on the first phase could take place between 2024 and 2026, with wider development of the Station Quarter continuing up to 2028.
The Station Quarter development, which is one of 10 key regeneration sites in Peterborough, is possibly the key to unlocking the potential of the city.
It was the focal point of an Investors Conference held in the city as civic and political leaders sought to secure backing for the project from private investors.
Two years it was hoped that spades could be in the ground marking a start of construction in 18 months but those hopes were dashed, largely by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. A 12-page colour brochure outlining the council’s vision for the city was also produced for those investors likely to be willing to provide financial backing for developments.