Peterborough City Council leader pledges new look at freeing up land for jobs
The leader of Peterborough City Council has pledged to take a fresh look at freeing up new land to create space for job creating companies.
Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald says work will start next year to take a new look at the Local Plan, which dictates the location of employment land.
The move comes after developers and commercial agents warned that Peterborough’s economic growth is at risk of being stifled by a lack of suitable sites for businesses. They say that most sites earmarked for commercial development in the council’s Local Plan for 2019 to 2036 are already full.
Cllr Fitzgerald said: “There is no ban on development here. I want to see the growth continue in the city, creating more jobs, more housing and more wealth for the people who live here.
“There are sites for development but not enough in the Local Plan. Landowners who want to bring forward a site can do so but it would be an exception to policy. Our Local Plan is fairly new but I think we will start to look at it next year and start to formulate what it will look like in the future.”
He added: “Growth will get us out of some of the financial holes we face because I see growth and development as a way of taking the funding that comes from that to supplement the council’s budget.”
Five months ago, developer Rob Facer, of Barnack Estates, which is behind the development of the Eagle Business Park, in Yaxley, unveiled a £21 million plan to create 1,600 jobs on agricultural land at Whittlesey Road, Stanground.
He said: “My biggest concern is this will be refused because the site is not allocated for development in the Local Plan.
“There is a need for more employment land like this to be included in the Local Plan.
He added: “It is excellent news that Cllr Fitzgerald is bringing forward a review of the Local Plan.
“I’m confident that Cllr Fitzgerald will make it happen.
Mr Facer added: “The problem is that the growth of Peterborough has happened quicker than expected and employment sites have mostly been filled.
“For instance the Peterborough Gateway site, which is now full, is a brilliant example of the positivity that exists here.
“And in Yaxley we have seen a phenomenal amount of new businesses.”
Mr Facer’s concerns are supported by a study of available development sites in Peterborough produced by commercial agents Savills and which states: “Peterborough has become a victim of its own success and employment land supply is not sufficient to meet demand.
Called The Peterborough Employment Land Review, it warns: “There is a real danger that investment will be lost to adjacent districts unless a more flexible approach is adopted.”