Plans for £50 million leisure village and 1,500 homes on East of England Showground are submitted to Peterborough City Council

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500 jobs are expected to be created by new proposals

Multi-million pound plans for a leisure village and up to 1,500 homes on the East of England Showground have been submitted to Peterborough City Council.

If approved the £50 million venture is expected to create about 500 jobs and pedestrian, cycle, vehicular and public transport links will connect it to the existing surrounding infrastructure.

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The outline planning application has been drawn up by the East of England Agricultural Society (EEAS), which is landowner of the East of England Showground, together with its land promoter, the Asset Earning Power Group (AEPG).

This image shows how the proposed leisure village and homes development for the East of England Showground at Peterborough will look.This image shows how the proposed leisure village and homes development for the East of England Showground at Peterborough will look.
This image shows how the proposed leisure village and homes development for the East of England Showground at Peterborough will look.

Proposals for the leisure village, to be known as Cultura Place, and the homes were first unveiled about 19 months ago, and have been the subject of a consultation exercise with nearby residents.

In a notice just released by EEAS and AEPG, they state: “This is a truly aspirational development, based on a model that is unique in the UK, but is undoubtedly influencing the direction of future developments at scale that are economically active, environmentally positive, and socially valued.

“The application goes above and beyond the statutory requirement demonstrating a significant focus on Peterborough City Council’s green agenda.

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"It incorporates excellent opportunities for sustainable employment, improved physical and mental health through safe and fun places to live, work, learn and play, whilst achieving the city’s climate targets.

Independent Councillor Julie Stevenson.Independent Councillor Julie Stevenson.
Independent Councillor Julie Stevenson.

“The proposed development creates physical, mental and financial wellbeing to the wider community of Peterborough.”

Alistair Beattie, interim chief executive of EEAS, said: “This is a unique proposition that is borne out of a vision to create a legacy we are all proud of, but also one that delivers committed investment directly into Peterborough’s diverse community via the Agricultural Society’s charitable objectives of education, farming and agriculture.”

The design seeks to extends existing open spaces, providing enhancement for existing residents of adjacent neighbourhoods and setting the

scene for an integrated, healthy community.

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The open spaces incorporate an extensive network of pedestrian and cycle routes for commuting and active leisure and seeks to embed the promotion of healthy lifestyles ‘as the cultural expectation of such a unique development.’

Why is the leisure village called Cultura Place?

The chosen name for the leisure village is a recognition of the EEAS’s legacy, which is to promote agriculture and rural life, and be a demonstrator for best in class.

EEAS says its interpretation of this legacy is the Latin definition of cultura: ‘to care, to protect, to grow.’

It states: “Cultura Place Leisure Village is the embodiment of the Agricultural Society and a new era of a legacy for AEPG.”

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New charitable foundation is planned:

AEPG is in the early stages of developing the Cultura Foundation with the objective of supporting local, community-based charities focusing on future generations and health and wellbeing.

AEPG is already working with Up The Garden Bath, Family Voice Peterborough, Peterborough Prime, and St Olga’s Church (also known as the Ukraine Church).

A spokesperson said: “The vision is simple; to create an aspirational neighbourhood that is a remarkable vision of how living and leisure will define healthy communities in the 21st century.

"The legacy of the showground as a place for occasional functions, events and activities will become transformed into the county’s premier destination for a new era of vibrant, modern, and healthy lifestyles, and a great place to live, learn, work and play.”

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How does vehicle storage plan for Showground fit in?

AEPG says that during the proposed development of the site, continuing any events business would be a real challenge in the short term.

So the East of England Arena and Events Centre has partnered with DHL Inside Track to operate a world-class specialist automotive sales and marketing services business.

This agreement is on the basis of a temporary change of use and will employ up to 140 people at the Showground and will enable EEAS and AEPG to focus on bringing forward the proposed development of the site.

The spokesman said: “The opportunity to bring a world-class specialist automotive sales and marketing services business to Peterborough only became apparent towards the end of 2022 and it was crucial that the East of England Arena and Events Centre team moved quickly to make this happen.

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“However, commercial sensitivities around DHL clients, staff and team members meant that details simply could not be released more widely until now.

“Some areas of the Showground have been used for car storage since August 2021 during the challenging Covid period within the events industry.

"This led to the introduction to DHL and is now being formalised through a temporary change of use.”

What are the politicians saying?

Independent Councillor Julie Stevenson, one of the area’s representatives on the city council, said: “Residents of the Orton area and particularly Ortons Northgate and Southgate, have been anticipating the submission of this application for some years.

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"Naturally, their immediate concerns are about local transport infrastructure and local amenities – there's a strong argument that both are already failing people locally.

"For many households, any development will have an impact on the view from their homes, and I know many are concerned about this.

"Also of concern is the likelihood of noise, dust and an increase in heavy plant traffic through both estates as the development is built.

"Residents are already displeased by AEPG's current retrospective application to use the site to store cars in the interim, so some ground has to be made up there, but this can be done through clear, timely, honest communication.

"We expect the plans to appear on the council's planning portal over the next few days once the council has verified them."