Peterborough United Co-owner insists club have explored ‘other options’ for new stadium and may seek to move plans

Peterborough United Co-owner Stewart Thompson has insisted that the club have explored ‘other options’ away from the Embankment and may move the site of the club’s proposed new stadium.

By Ben Jones
Monday, 20th September 2021, 6:27 am
A planned view of Posh's new stadium.
A planned view of Posh's new stadium.

Mr Thompson has still been clear that the club believes that the Embankment is the best site but has been keen to reassure campaigners against the development that they are being listened to and the club has other locations in mind.

They have faced opposition to these plans, both in the form of the Labour Group on the city council and from campaigners that have set up the Save Peterborough Embankment group on Facebook.

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A planned view of Posh's new stadium.

The club would also have to make a special application to become part of the independent masterplan for the future of the embankment, drawn up by Peterborough City Council.

The plans threatened to divide the Combined Authority’s Mayor and Deputy in July, when Mayor Dr Nik Johnson stated he could not support funding for the masterplan if it delivered a football stadium on the green space.

Mr Thompson said: “This whole process has a lot of things that happen that aren’t visible and we’re in the nasty period of time when there’s a lot of paper flowing back and forth between people behind the scenes. We’ve put in an original permit, which we were requested to do to say where it should be placed.

“We are looking at now, how it might actually be better to move the placement. I’m not saying we’re moving off the embankment but I’m saying we’re looking around the embankment at what the final development might look like.

Stewart Thompson (middle), with co-owner Jason Neale (left) and Director of Football Barry Fry (right).

“There is a group of people that are surfacing that don’t want it there and we have to be planning for that. There is a third dimension to this, there is a masterplan which we are not part of, we are going to have to do a special application. We are going to have to deal with those people that want us to be looking at places and I think one of the things I’ve noticed is that a lot of the things we’ve done to look at other places hasn’t been made public.

“Maybe we waited too long on that. I want to be clear to anyone that isn’t a supporter of what we’re doing on the embankment, we are listening to you and we are very aware that there are other options and we are looking at those.”

In the past, Posh have considered several alternatives to building on the embankment, these have included out of town sites, the East of England Showground, now earmarked for housing, and developing the club’s existing Weston Homes Stadium.

Mr Thompson has said the club will be transparent with the public about the sites they have evaluated and give them a chance to see why they believe the embankment is the best option.

One of the things the clubs are considering though is moving further up the embankment, closer to the site of the new university, as a way to further improve ties between the two but also for zoning reasons.

He added: “London Road can not be developed any further, we are looking out of our office window to a delightful row of homes and we’ve just gone through a parking row, where we are going to be left with 10 parking spaces; there just is not the room to develop the club’s spiritual home.

“We looked at other places, we looked at the showground, we looked out of town and we will put those forward and let the public have a chance to say what were the alternatives, why aren’t you there?

“I hope that when we come through that process, it is going to be absolutely evident that this (the embankment) is going to be the best place not just for the club but for the city, what we can do to enhance the green space, having a stadium that is net zero or positive with regards to green energy, what we can do with bringing people into the green space in the centre of the city and bringing the cathedral, university, retail and cultural centre all together within a walking distance is really exciting.

“We are looking at potentially looking at moving up the embankment, closer to the university, only because if we leave it on the riverbank that land is not zoned right now. Then we would have to slow down again and have to go through a whole zoning process, whereas if we move up towards the running track, it’s already zoned, and we would not lose up to five more months in the planning process.”