£43 million revamp of Peterborough Station could open new gateway into the city

Work to kick-start a long awaited £500 million transformation of Peterborough city centre is timetabled to start in 18 months.

By Paul Grinnell
Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 5:17 pm
The south entrance to the new look Peterborough railway station.
The south entrance to the new look Peterborough railway station.

The first spades are expected to go into the ground with the ambitious redevelopment of the railway station to turn it into an impressive gateway to the city.

The vision for the so-called Station Quarter is shared by National Rail, LNER, Peterborough City Council and the Combined Authority.

Together they aim to create a state-of-the-art station gateway building that with a new office park and surrounding retail facilities. The Great Northern Hotel will be retained.

An aerial view of the new link across the railway to the new car park as part of the station quarter redevelopment plans

The plan includes two new multi-storey car parks - one on the site of the existing ground level car park and another near Midland Road, which is expected to reduce the traffic flow through to the Queensgate roundabout by 30 per cent.

This will allow the size of the roundabout to be reduced and for an improved access from the station to other development sites including Rivergate, the Embankment, Middleholme and the University.

There will also be another access from the Station Quarter into the a regenerated North Westgate.

The plans were unveiled at a meeting of political leaders, planners and designers, which heard development could start in 18 months.

Peterborough office hub off Bourges Boulevard.

However, there are some hurdles to overcome to fulfil the plan, which has been drawn up by the council.

These include securing the cash needed to fund the development works from the private and the public sectors.

It is planned to host a glittering Investors’ Conference in Peterborough this the spring in a bid to attract specific funders to the city.

And a 12-page colour brochure outlining the council’s vision for the city has been produced for those investors likely to be willing to provide financial backing for developments.

Key opportunity development sites in Peterborough.

Contributions from the public sector and the private sector will be needed to turn the dream into a reality.

Council leader Councillor John Holdich said: “The overall framework will be a combination of public and private sector funding which could total in excess of £500million. We will need to complete a detailed business case for each element to be able to provide a cost-estimate, but the Station Quarter for example will certainly be a multi-million scheme which will be funded by a mix of private and public investment.

“Public investment we are seeking is from the CPCA Growth Funds and the Government Prosperity Fund once confirmed from Government, the New Towns Fund and direct grants to Network Rail from the Department for Transport. We already have interest from a number of private sector investors, but because we have a specific aim in terms of what we want Peterborough to receive from the Local Area Development Framework, we will need to ensure that we choose the right investors to achieve this - this is why we are planning to hold an Investor Conference later this year.”

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow said: “The ambition in the masterplan is excellent and it can be a real shot in the arm for our city.

“The Government has already committed up to £25 million from the New Towns Fund to help Peterborough achieve this. The challenge now is to engage the private sector and enthuse them in this exciting vision. I shall be working with the council to put Peterborough on the map.

“A place for further public sector investment and a destination for business, private investment and new families. Peterborough is on the up.”

James Palmer, Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, said: “I’m impressed with the masterplan.

“These are exciting times for Peterborough. It is a growing city, a forward thinking city with new businesses and growth coming to the city.

“The Combined Authority has invested £25 million for a university for Peterborough.

“It will be the first technical university in the UK and will be focused on the needs of business and aimed at local people who want to get a career out of going to university.

“It will be the main part of the development for Peterborough. It is the right university for the right city at the right time.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We are always happy to work with stakeholders on their aspirations to improve the railway.

“Network Rail is working with Peterborough City Council and London North Eastern Railway to look at opportunities for Peterborough station and the Station Quarter.”