Latest progress for Peterborough’s Station Quarter, Northminster, North Westgate and Fletton Quays developments

Peterborough is currently progressing a £600 million regeneration of its city centre, with a number of major schemes either in the planning or building phase.

By Joel Lamy
Wednesday, 14th October 2020, 4:30 am

In an interview with the Peterborough Telegraph, Peterborough City Council executive director for economy and place Steve Cox gave an update on how the projects are evolving.

• £300 million masterplan

An artist's impression of how North Westgate will look when the development is completed

• Brand new station

• New office park as well as retail and residential usage

• Two new multi-storey car parks

• Potential relocation of listed Railway Goods sheds

Mr Cox said the scheme is “progressing well” and that the council is lobbying the Government to move one of its departments to the site.

“We’re now into discussions with Network Rail, LNER and the combined authority about how we can get the first phase away,” he said.

“We’re looking to persuade the Government to relocate one of its departments to Peterborough. We’ve already got the Government hub at Fletton Quays but we think there’s a case to have something similar around the station as well.

“We’re looking to get that commitment and with the combined authority are making the case to the Government.”

The entrance to the new station will be further south to create an “easier and quicker link” into the city centre via Queensgate, with the Station Quarter earmarked as a “gateway into the city”.

“If we can keep cars on the edge of the city centre rather inside it you can create better pedestrian links,” Mr Cox added.
Discussions are ongoing on freeing up land for a commercial scheme to come forward in the first phase, with development of the planning application to continue into next year.

• A residential-led scheme with potential for a new market and other ground floor uses

• Public realm improvements made around the site

A planning application is expected to be submitted in the first three months of 2021 by the Peterborough Investment Partnership, a joint venture between the city council and Lucent Strategic Land Fund.

Mr Cox said PIP has appointed architects to prepare designs for a residential scheme.

“This is a great opportunity to create something high quality in terms of design, but very desirable in terms of accommodation as well - the right mix of units,” he said.

Asked what the future would be for the city market, which is currently based at the site, he said: “It’s an option to look at in Northminster but it’s fair to say we are keeping our options open.”

• A £150 million mixed-use development scheme close to the station and just north of Queensgate

• Residential, hotel, restaurant, retail and office uses

• Land assembly is underway

• Detailed planning application expected in 2022

The council recently signed a collaboration agreement with Hawksworth Securities PLC to begin acquiring the land for the long awaited scheme. Mr Cox described this as a “significant step forward”.

He added: “We have the ability to use compulsory purchase powers. We don’t want to do that, but we have it as a mechanism.

“It’s been a long running regeneration scheme, but I think we’ve turned a corner now with Hawksworth.”

He said he hopes to see a “powerful mix” of uses at the site.

Council leader Cllr John Holdich recently told the PT that Hawksworth chairman Peter Breach was determined to see building works begin in a year’s time, adding: “People want to come here and do things and invest in Peterborough. We need to get it going.

“I believe Mr Breach in what he says and he wants to get it going in 12 months.”

Fletton Quays•Major £120 million redevelopment on Peterborough’s south bank

• Work on site started early 2017

• HQ for Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and Peterborough City Council

• Hilton Garden Inn (160 beds) – works started in September

• Around 450 apartments

• Works on a new government office hub expected to start soon

• Restaurant and leisure usage

New bidders are said to have come in for restaurant and leisure and for the Whitworth Mill area, which was due to become a boutique hotel.

• ARU Peterborough is due to open in October 2022, initially to 2,500 students before eventually reaching 12,500

• Curriculum delivered by Anglia Ruskin University with degree awarding powers until at least 2030

• Independence from ARU will not be before 2032

• £30m campus largely on the Wirrina Car Park in Bishop’s Road awaiting planning approval – building due to start in January 2021

£14.6m funding secured for research hub run by 3D printing company Photocentric – planning application in early 2021

• £40m Phase 3 proposals - which will include two further teaching-focused buildings - are being developed

There was some scepticism after it was revealed that the proposed University of Peterborough would be run by Anglia Ruskin University under the name ARU Peterborough, with full independence not achieved until at least 2032.

But Mr Cox was adamant that the technical university will fully deliver on the high expectations set out by political leaders, as well as boost the city’s economy and opportunities for young people living locally.

He said:“The vision definitely will be matched by reality. It’s creating an asset so young people can learn and spend money in Peterborough, and it also adds vitality to the city.

“It’s difficult to overestimate the value of that for a city and its economy, but I think the model and the vision is a powerful one - it’s just what Peterborough needs. Then we get into the third phase and the fourth phase which will see the numbers increase. And we will have a campus to be proud of.”

Asked if the projected student forecast will come to fruition, Mr Cox replied: “I’m (confident). The demand is there. It has to be a university students want to go to so we have to make sure we create something special, but from all the discussions I’ve been in and led I’ve got no doubt that will happen.”

Where is the money coming from?

The £600 million put forward so far for the city centre regeneration is largely coming from private investors, Mr Cox explained, with the council largely taking on a ‘facilitating role’, whether that be with the planning process or acquiring land through borrowing.

“We are very conscious about budgets, but this is about enabling others to spend their money in Peterborough as opposed to them spending their money in a different town or city in the UK,” he said.

“It’s really important we can demonstrate that they can come to Peterborough and know they’re going to be welcomed and are going to get treated promptly and fairly and their development will be enabled.

“We don’t need to put the money in if we work in that way.”