Call to reveal future plans for Peterborough’s Northminster car park

Exterior of Northminster car park EMN-190726-115704009
Exterior of Northminster car park EMN-190726-115704009
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Calls for further transparency have been made after two reports used as justification to demolish Northminster car park were published by 
Peterborough City Council.

Calls for further transparency have been made after two reports used as justification to demolish Northminster car park were published by 
Peterborough City Council.

The authority announced the removal of the multi-storey near the city market last week after it received a second report by structural engineers stating the building had reached the end of its life.

The car park had been closed to vehicles since July 26 due to fears vibrations could cause lumps of concrete to fall from the structure.

Both reports were published on Tuesday by the council on its website. The authority also revealed that it had commissioned an internal review to: “allow it to better understand the maintenance and monitoring regime in recent years”.

The first report was written by Rolton Group and gave two potential courses of action.

One was to carry out a “comprehensive, intrusive investigation” of the car park structure while carrying out repairs at a cost between £2 and £4 million.

The second was to deem the car park unsafe and to demolish it.

The report argued the closed car park did not need to be demolished for 12 months if immediate works and regular monitoring was undertaken.

Following the analysis the council did close the car park and commissioned a second report, this time from Skanska, which concluded: “It is considered that the structure is beyond economic repair and it is considered highly likely that any further investigations or analysis will only prove that the life of the structure cannot be extended.

“It is therefore recommended that the structure is decommissioned and demolished.”

Vice chairman of Peterborough Civic Society, Toby Wood, called for the council’s future plans for the area to be revealed, as it was identified as an area of redevelopment in its recent Local Plan.

He said:: “Peterborough Civic Society is unsurprised by the findings of these reports. The council will have been considering re-developing the whole Northminster site for quite some time now as part of the Local Plan.

“The council will already have outline plans and ideas of their own. All we wish is that the council are open and transparent so that the people of Peterborough can see what is being envisaged,”

Last week council leader Cllr John Holdich addressed this issue, stating: “Given the opportunities this site presents in terms of regenerating this quarter of the city, plus its central location and proximity to the railway station, I am confident that there will be interest from the private sector which would bring forward much needed regeneration for this part of the city.”

A council spokeswoman said: “As proposals for development come forward they will come into the public domain for scrutiny and consultation via the planning system.”

The council has already said it will demolish the multi-storey and replace it with a surface-level car park.

It also said it will work with the owners of the nine retail units on the ground floor of the car park to support them to find alternative retail units and will support a small number of market traders who may need to move temporarily while the demolition takes place.