Residents voice concerns at planned multi-million pound development plans for East of England Showground

This image shows how part of the proposed East of England Showground could appear.This image shows how part of the proposed East of England Showground could appear.
This image shows how part of the proposed East of England Showground could appear.
Worries range from loss of speedway to medical services provision

An urgent call has gone out to Peterborough residents to make their views known about a planned multi-million pound transformation of the East of England Showground.

The appeal comes as Peterborough City Council begins the process that will determine the future of the 165 acre site that has been the venue for many large scale attractions and entertainments for more than 50 years.

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Two outline planning applications have been submitted to the council for the construction of a total of 1,500 homes along with a £50 million leisure village that could also see the building of a 250-bedroom hotel, a primary school and shops.

Cllr Julie StevensonCllr Julie Stevenson
Cllr Julie Stevenson

Councillor Julie Stevenson, one of the ward councillors for the area, said: “This is a key stage in a long process and I encourage residents to get involved as much as they can to ensure that the development is the best it can possibly be.

"After all, it is those of us that live here that truly understand the implications for local amenities such as schools and doctors, safety of local roads and density of housing.”

The proposed development will also leave the speedway team Peterborough Panthers, which has been at the Showground for more than 50 years, looking for a new race track. Cllr Stevenson said: “We must fight for a new home for our speedway team.

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"Peterborough Panthers have been a treasured part of Peterborough's cultural scene for over half a century.

"We're at risk of losing them entirely if the council doesn't step in to help.”

Development plans for the Showground were submitted to the council by the venue’s operator AEPG in April this year but were only published by the local authority on its publicly accessible planning portal over the bank holiday.

Cllr Stevenson said: “While it's good that residents finally have an opportunity to review the outline plans and provide comments, the timing is frustrating.

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"The documents appeared on the council's planning portal on August bank holiday Monday.

"A significant number of people with an interest in the plans will still be on holiday so their opportunity to digest the plans and comment will be limited.”

Despite Cllr Stevenson’s concerns a number of residents have already begun to submit comments about the proposals through the planning portal.

One resident states: “It is terrible that the council will allow the Showground to disappear and all of the events that happen there with it!

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"Not only is it one of the only places in the city that offers all sorts of types of entertainment, it's removal must have an intact on the local businesses in the Orton area.

"But the worse thing is that this will destroy a much loved Speedway Team, which has been very successful over the years and the city should be proud of!”

Another adds: “Closing a Speedway Stadium to build houses is the most unjust and selfish act.”

Congestion on the roads and services are concerns for another resident who writes: “My greatest worry for this development is the traffic plan… you need the school being built in stage one as well as the doctors surgery.”

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And another resident states: “The planning application does not give any consideration to improving existing access points from Oundle Road or Dunblane Drive.

"850 dwellings and associated other buildings will likely increase local road traffic by 1,700 plus vehicles.

"It is a badly thought out plan that has not taken into consideration existing local residents and the effect that increased traffic flow will have.”

The proposals are branded a ‘disgrace’ if other provision for outdoor events is not provided by another resident who adds: “By removing you will be taking away a current leisure facility enjoyed by thousands of local people, I cannot believe that a famous sports club, Peterborough Speedway, will just be terminated , something enjoyed every summer by local people.

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"I believe something must be done to stop this, there are plenty of gyms, hotels and restaurants in Peterborough already, only one Speedway club, it should be retained for

the future.

"The Showground is a fantastic asset to Peterborough, with large events hosted, and a successful and well attended sports team in the Panthers speedway team.

"This will also cause massive amounts of added congestion on the already busy Oundle Road.”

The sheer number of houses proposed is a puzzle to another objector who also queries how medical services are going to be provided.

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The resident asks: “I'm really not sure why more housing is needed when there are already houses being built at Stilton, Hampton and Great Haddon.

“My family members have not been able to see an NHS dentist since Covid as all dentists are only treating private patients, so what is going to happen to all the families that

move into these houses?

"Doctors are overwhelmed and have more patients than they can deal with so the infrastructure is not there, yet we continue to add to the problem by building more houses.”

A council spokesperson said: "All of the infrastructure needs, that are generated by the development, will need to be provided by the developer. This may include health, as well as education, highways, green space, affordable housing, and biodiversity.

"The infrastructure providers will be consulted, once the applications are valid, and invited to confirm their infrastructure needs forward. This will then be negotiated with the developer."