New homes at Northminster in Peterborough will be ‘high end and affordable’

Hundreds of new homes at Northminster will be both “high end” and “affordable,” according to the person responsible for the scheme.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 5:01 am

Plans were unveiled last week for 350 one, two and three bedroom properties at the city centre site with commercial space on the ground floor to be used for leisure or hospitality.

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The proposed regeneration of Northminster

The proposals have been put forward by the Peterborough Investment Partnership (PIP) - a joint venture between Peterborough City Council and investment specialists IAGH3 - which boasted that the new homes will be “high quality”.

And in an interview with the Peterborough Telegraph, PIP principal development manager Howard Bright said the rental properties will be priced at 80 per cent of the market rate, meaning they can be classed as affordable homes.

“The absolute intention is for 100 per cent of the homes to be 80 per cent of the market rent, which meets the statutory definition,” Mr Bright said.

“Our ambition is to be different and to look at things differently. Not just moving the red line, but the impact it has on the city. We’re not just about making money.

How one of the new properties could look

“The concept we’ve started testing is can we do high end residential-led development which is more affordable for people to live in than the equivalent would be?

“Isn’t it better for the city centre, isn’t it better for people, to have the same quality of experience, same quality of lifestyle and in the city centre, but to have it for less money?

“From a personal level as a Peterborian who has lived in Peterborough all his life, it strikes me if people have more money in their pockets and less money being paid for rent, doesn’t that mean they are more likely to spend money in the city centre?”

Discussions are currently ongoing as to with who will own the homes once the scheme is completed.

A public consultation into the Northminster plans is underway with the intention for a full planning application to be submitted to the council in July, with the two-year building process beginning in early 2022.

The 350 new homes would be a mix of apartments, townhouses and maisonettes, while the plans include outdoor space – such as shared amenity spaces and roof terraces – with around 20 per cent of the site set to be ‘green’.

Laxton Square will also be given a makeover to create a “bright, safe and welcoming area for the general public to use,” although the city market will be demolished for the project to be carried forward.

The proposed development also includes parking spaces as well as solar panels and electric vehicle charging points.

PIP is also behind the regeneration of Fletton Quays at Peterborough’s South Bank, another major scheme with a high degree of residential use.

Explaining how the Northminster plans were developed, Mr Bright said: “PIP was created to solve regeneration challenges in the city centre and Northminster has a regeneration challenge.

“When we started talking to people, one of the common themes which came out - and it was a very informal consultation with a small group - was it doesn’t have a sense of identify. It is disconnected from the city centre.

“That part of the city which was very much a commercial hub, it’s not that any more. It’s become a lot more residential.

“The brief when I get something like Northminster, which was the same with Fletton Quays, is ‘what’s the ambition for the site? What are you trying to achieve both as a city and as PIP?’ and trying to merge those two together.

“It has to work commercially from PIP’s point of view, because if it doesn’t work commercially it won’t get built.

“So it’s about marrying the ambition the city might have for the area and delivering something which is commercially deliverable.”

Northminster has already been identified for development in Peterborough’s Local Plan.

The initial scheme has been produced following an informal consultation and includes plans to have a food and drink offering on the ground floor.

“I’d like it to offer something slightly different from what’s available elsewhere in the city centre,” Mr Bright said.

Asked if views of the cathedral will be impacted by the project, he replied: “We’ve tried to consider views carefully in the design and development. There will be some views which will be impacted and others which will be enhanced.

“We’ve tried to find a balance between the two that showcases the cathedral. It’s a difficult balance to find and I think we’ve made it, and I think you’ll see that as the planning application goes through.”

Mr Bright hopes that another major residential scheme in the city centre will bring “life” to the area and help boost the local economy.

He added: “I hope Northminster will have its own community and own identity. If you live in Northminster you’re going to be within walking distance of the city centre.

“And if you’re like me and go ‘I’m lazy and don’t fancy cooking and will go out for dinner,’ it’s a lot easier to go round the corner and go into any of the many restaurants that we have in the city centre. And you’ll spend more money that way.

“I hope it will increase spending in the city centre and benefit the economy.”

Further details about the scheme are available online at www.northminster-peterborough.co.uk – together with a survey which residents can complete to provide feedback.

Public webinars will also be held on Wednesday, June 9 and Monday, June 14 at 6pm, with a telephone surgery held on Friday, June 18.

Individuals are invited to register for the events by contacting the project team using the details below:

. Freephone: 0800 1583218

. FREEPOST PIP.

The deadline for feedback is June 20.