Scrutiny starts of ambitious vision to transform Peterborough’s Embankment

Experts at Peterborough City Council face months of painstaking work to check the viability of proposals in the newly released Embankment masterplan.

By Paul Grinnell
Friday, 25th March 2022, 7:30 pm

The 114 page masterplan sets out a vision for the 70 acre open, green space Embankment which its says will power the way for Peterborough to become a 21st century riverside city.

Council officers have now been tasked with analysing the blueprint’s findings and recommendations in a bid to move the project forward.

The land is already under pressure after the Middleholme section was earmarked for a 350 homes development, the start of construction work on the city’s new university and expressions of interest in moving Peterborough United Football Club to the site.

This map shows the Cultural Hub to the left, the university at the top and Middleholme to the right.

The masterplan initiative was launched by the council in order to ensure the Embankment did not disappear in piecemeal development.

It was drawn up consultants Stantec and Barton and Willmore after more than month long consultation with residents, groups and businesses which prompted 1,400 initial responses to a survey on how people currently used the Embankment and 818 responses to the four options that were developed for public comment.

The masterplan was expected to have been published in January and the delay prompted some concerns to be voiced.

The masterplan sets out a vision and maps out a path for the transformation of the Embankment in a process that could take decades to complete.

A 3D image shows how a transformed Embankment might appear.

It recommends a variety of ways to attract more visitors to green space and riverside and flags up six Opportunity Sites with room for an Arena to hold a football stadium near the university, the creation of a Cultural Hub and an enhanced Embankment and riverside.

Council leader Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald said: “The Embankment Masterplan is a key document which could provide a blueprint for a large area of our city centre - we recognise and respect that everyone will have differing views on its future.

“That’s why throughout the whole process we have gone to great lengths to make sure that the Embankment Masterplan process is as independent and transparent as possible and that it involved as many views from residents and other key stakeholders as it could.

“We have now received the Embankment Masterplan report back from the independent consultants and have published this immediately, as we recognise it is in the public interest. It will, however, need careful consideration from officers over the coming months to determine if the proposals are viable and the next recommended steps.”

The council’s Labour group leader Shaz Nawaz said: “I’m pleased the masterplan for the Embankment has finally been published even though it’s later than promised.

“We only have one shot to get it right.

“It’s imperative that the Embankment is developed in a way that best serves the need of the people of Peterborough.

“It belongs to them and it needs to enhance what the city has to offer.

“Our view is to keep all options open and under review.

“We will continue to consult widely with ward councillors and the community to get their input.

“We will work with everyone across the board to get the best outcome.”

Toby Wood, deputy chairman of the heritage and design watchdog, the Peterborough Civic Society, said: “We welcome the fact that the plan has been delivered as promised by Cllr Fitzgerald.

“It is 114 pages long and therefore will take quite a while to assimilate any recommendations.”

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