Ambitious plans to transform Peterborough city centre

An artist's impression of the  revamped Bourges Boulevard, looking north.
An artist's impression of the revamped Bourges Boulevard, looking north.
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Multi-million pound plans have been unveiled in a move that is expected to transform a huge swathe of Peterborough city centre.

A number of ambitious projects have been put together that are forecast to revitalise the north western side of the city centre.

The former Royal Mail site ' currently used as a temporary car park. Photo: Rowland Hobson

The former Royal Mail site ' currently used as a temporary car park. Photo: Rowland Hobson

And a variety of images of the plans have been released and will form the focal point of a series of public consultations over the coming months.

A series of images have been released by Peterborough City Council of its proposed new look for a section of Bourges Boulevard from its junction with Bright Street to the Thorpe Road roundabout.

The £4.5 million plans involve turning the dual carriageway into a pedestrian and cyclist friendly tree-lined boulevard.

The scheme, which will include the planting of about 30 London Plane trees, each 15 metres tall, along a widened central reservation of Bourges Boulevard, will also include creating two 10 metre-wide pedestrian crossings across the road between Crescent Bridge roundabout and Bright Street roundabout to improve access to the city centre for pedestrians and cyclists.

Bourges Boulevard and the train station junction as they currently stand. Photo: Rowland Hobson

Bourges Boulevard and the train station junction as they currently stand. Photo: Rowland Hobson

The works will also enable traffic from the station to turn right out of Station Road for the first time with traffic lights introduced at the junction.

It is expected that narrowing the road will add an average of nine seconds to the time it usually takes for motorists to travel that length of the carriageway.

A council spokeswoman said: “The scheme is an integral part of the council’s continued support for development and growth and will support the redevelopment of the Station Quarter and the recently announced plans for North Westgate.

The new look Bourges Boulevard will be a vital link between the city centre and the new Waitrose supermarket planned for the former Royal Mail site at Mayor’s Walk, off Bourges Boulevard.

Artist's impression: A view looking south along Bourges Boulevard.

Artist's impression: A view looking south along Bourges Boulevard.

A separate £2 million venture has also been drawn up by the council to improve Long Causeway in the city centre.

It will involve creating a new square and meeting place half way along the street outside the Queensgate entrance, replacing the paving and seating and uplighting the trees to create the same brighter lighter street scene that is now present in Bridge Street.

Work is set to start on Bourges Boulevard and Long Causeway in March 2014.

Eight London Plane trees will be removed from Long Causeway as part of the public realm works, however six new trees will be planted in the area and more than 30 mature London Planes are being planted along Bourges Boulevard.

Councillor Marco Cereste, council leader, said: “These works are a major piece in the jigsaw of the city’s growth plans because the changes we are making both to Bourges Boulevard and to Long Causeway are all about planning for the city’s future and creating a better city for our residents.

“This in turn shows investors we are a forward-thinking city and gives them the confidence to want to come here and do business. Since we started the public realm works Carluccio’s, TK Maxx, Primark, Nando’s, Wildwood, and a whole host of other companies have opened in Peterborough.

He said: “There may be some people who will complain that it take longer to drive along that section of road but there are always other routes to use - for instance the parkways.

Cllr Cereste added: “We are delighted that Waitrose has today announced that it is submitting plans to relocate its store to the old Royal Mail depot site next to the railway station creating a bigger brand new 29,000 square feet food store and 40 new jobs.

“The changes to the road layout of Bourges Boulevard unlock the potential of this site and a number of other development sites that the city has struggled to get off the ground, making them far more attractive to prospective investors.

“This is not just a highways scheme, this is about creating a proper gateway into the city for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.”

Public exhibition of plans

The public has the chance to view the plans for Bourges Boulevard and Long Causeway as well as the proposals for the new Waitrose store at a public exhibition at the Great Northern Hotel, Station Approach, Peterborough on Thursday, 5 December between 11am and 4pm.

Related: £100 million ‘North Westgate’ plans for Peterborough, 15 November.

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Hotel is due to be extended

The original Masterplan for Peterborough’s Station Quarter envisaged a £500 million development to create a cluster of offices, shops and accommodation on land around the rail station.

The development of the former Royal Mail site was approved by Peterborough City Council’s planning committee in February last year and forecast a £50 million scheme containing 6,000 square metres of office space, a 4,300 square metre supermarket and other stores, and it was hoped would create up to 630 jobs when finished.

Simon Machin, the council’s head of resources, said the new Waitrose scheme reflected the commerical realities of the time.

Plans were also approved last year for a seven storey extension to the nearby Great Northern Hotel, opposite the railway station.

The extension, which still has to get started, should create 13,000 square feet of new office space, coffee shops and even roof top gardens.