Olympic-grade Climbing Wall for Peterborough’s Ferry Meadows in line for £1.5 million government support

Plans to build an Olympic-grade Climbing Wall on Peterborough parkland have been submitted for Government funding approval.

By Paul Grinnell
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 8:00 am

The 34.25 metre tall Climbing Wall - which would be one of the tallest buildings in the city - is part of a new Lakeside Activity Centre proposed for Ferry Meadows.

The £8 million project is supported by the Peterborough Towns Fund board, which has submitted a business case to the Department of Levelling Up, Communities and Housing (DLUCH) to approve £1.5 million funding for the centre.

If the request is successful, it is hoped the Activity Centre and Climbing Wall will be completed next year with the rest of the funding secured from a variety of other sources.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

An image of the proposed Climbing Walls planned for Nene Park.

The centre, which was approved by Peterborough City Council last March in the face of fierce opposition from campaigners, will feature one of the country’s largest Clip ‘n Climb arenas suitable for all the family, a nature themed toddler area, a café and spaces for community groups to hire.

The centre will also create 31 jobs and is expected to generate £2 million for the city’s economy.

At the same time, the board has submitted plans for Green Technology Centre at Peterborough College to DLUCH for which it hopes to secure £2 million support.

The technology centre would feature an innovative curriculum to get students ready for high wage and high skilled careers such as sustainable construction and electric vehicle manufacturing.

A planning application for the new building is due to be submitted to the council this spring.

The Towns Fund is an initiative created by the Government to further its so-called Levelling UP agenda and has allocated a potential £22.9 million to Peterborough.

The Peterborough Towns Fund is backing eight projects and hopes to provide business case for its other projects in July.

Two small projects, the Embankment Masterplan (£200,000) and the Enterprise Hub (£120,000) did not require a business case and have already had their funding delivered.

An initial list of 10 projects was reduced last week after Peterborough City Council announced its £27 budget crisis meant it could no longer provide the agreed match funding to the Towns Fund. The match funding was cut by £8.1 million to £19.7 million

Andy Starnes, deputy independent chair of the Peterborough Towns Fund, said: “This is an exciting time for the Towns Fund in Peterborough.

“The Government has allocated a potential £22.9million for our city.

“We have already drawn down £320,000 of that for smaller projects, but this is the first round of larger projects which must have their business cases signed off to release to the funding.

“A great deal of time and preparation has been put into these business cases and we have been in close discussions with DLUCH while doing this.”

Cllr Peter Hiller, cabinet member for strategic planning, commercial strategy and investments at Peterborough City Council, said: “If approved, both projects will deliver something new for our city, which will enhance life for those who live, work and visit here.

“The Lakeside Activity Centre will put Peterborough on the map with an Olympic sized climbing wall and will provide an indoor destination that will encourage users to be active year-round and will create extra local jobs.

“It will complement the other developments that we have happening in our city, such as the new University, the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel and the Empire Cinema extension at Queensgate, all of which are set to open this year.”

“The Green Technology Centre will help our residents – including young people and upskilling adults – meet employers’ needs and enjoy high-earning careers in emerging industries which will help us to meet our carbon zero objectives.”