Plans for Climbing Wall in Peterborough parkland are recommended for approval

Plans to build an Olympic-standard Climbing Wall in parkland in Peterborough have been given a boost.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 7:33 am
An image of the proposed Climbing Walls planned for Nene Park.

The £8 million project to construct a 34.25 metre high Climbing Wall and activity centre on a lakeside site in Ferry Meadows has been recommended for approval by Peterborough City Council planning officers.

The application for the Lakeside Activity Centre submitted by Nene Park Trust is to be considered by the council’s planning and environmental protection committee on March 23.

Councillors, who will have to decide whether to approve the proposals or not, will be told the council has received a total of 457 objections from the public plus 166 messages of support for the project.

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The council also received a petition containing 1,112 names against the proposal and there was a further petition at Change.org opposed to the plans and which contained 4,517 names.

Campaigners battling to stop the project have voiced concerns that the planned centre would ruin rural views, endanger wildlife, trees and heritage.

There were fears it would mean an increased risk of flooding and generate more traffic and noise and spoil an area that was meant to be a tranquil retreat for visitors.

But a 137-pages-long report to the committee states that the proposed Lakeside Activity Centre and Climbing Wall will bring benefits to the city’s economy and help promote active and healthy lifestyles.

It states a search of other possible sites for the centre found that there are not any other suitable locations.

It adds the centre will not bring an increase in a risk of flooding and would have a negligible impact on nearby Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas.

It has long been accepted that if approved the Climbing Wall would become one of the tallest building in the city.

But the report states: “The visual harm caused by the building to the wider landscape is outweighed by the enhancement of the recreational and leisure benefits of the proposal ensuring Ferry Meadows Country Park as a major destination.”

It adds that the building would be of high quality, innovative design which would be sympathetic to the surrounding context and which has the potential to enhance the setting of the park, add to the local distinctiveness of the area and create a sense of place.

The report also states: “The proposal would avoid any adverse impact on the biodiversity within the site, including protected species and biodiversity enhancements would be provided.”

If councillors opt to approve the plans, it will bring to a conclusion a near three year effort by the trust to secure the go ahead for the facility, which had orginally hoped its opening would coincide with the Tokyo Olympics 2020.