Peterborough’s city centre has benefitted in recent years from a fresher look and an influx of new restaurants, bars and dessert lounges, but bigger changes are still to come.
Whether it be new leisure facilities, a fully-fledged university or housing in Northminster, Peterborough will be unrecognisable in a decade compared to now.
But for the man overseeing the city centre’s regeneration, the biggest excitement in his voice comes when discussing plans to shake-up the area surrounding the station.
Steve Cox was appointed as the executive director for place and economy at Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council earlier this year, and there is a real passion when conversation turns to plans for the Station Quarter.
In particular, the opportunities brought by the new, Azuma trains which it is hoped will rapidly transport people to the capital in the future.
Speaking to the Peterborough Telegraph, Mr Cox said: “I know development around the station has been on the cards for quite some time, but now with the Azuma trains and the 39 minutes to London the station is a fantastic opportunity in creating a set of land uses around it which can bring real value.
“It will be quite attractive to investors and developers who want to come to Peterborough.”
A blueprint for the city centre’s redevelopment is currently being prepared by the council and key stakeholders, and Mr Cox said the early drafts are “really good”.
He added: “There are a number of sites which, when you put them all together, create a story that’s powerful. The Station Quarter is a classic example of a place where you can attract some really exciting uses.
“It’s a gateway into the city. There are a number of benefits that can be brought from it. Potentially for office space for relocations out of London. For housing - we need to get a good mix of high quality and affordable housing. For people commuting into London that might be attractive as well.
“It’s a variety of uses that could bring jobs, bring homes and bring spending power into the city centre.”
The possible demolition of the Great Northern Hotel has previously not been ruled out, and when asked about its future Mr Cox replied: “We need to recognise the hotel is an important building, but it’s one that will need to form part of the conversation of how we form a better gateway into the city.”