Consultancy firm WSP has been appointed to lead a feasibility study for the plan to revamp the 90-acre site which will also provide new nightclubs and riverside bars while retaining the Lido and Key Theatre.
The ambition is to open up the city’s river frontage to make it a destination for residents and visitors by improving the use of green space along the river with places to sit, walk, play and enjoy outdoor events in a well-lit environment.
A funding bid has also been made as part of the Government’s New Towns fund for the installation of a footbridge between the new university campus and the Fletton Quays development on the South Bank.
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Cllr Peter Hiller, cabinet member for strategic planning, commercial strategy and investment at Peterborough City Council, said: “While our Embankment is a wonderful place in our city centre, so much of it is currently under-utilised, particularly in the dark autumn and winter months when the grass is wet and muddy and few people venture far as it’s poorly lit.
“Likewise, while many other cities showcase their river frontage, ours has always been a bit hidden and tucked away. What we want to do is retain the huge expanse of green space around the river and encourage more people to visit and make use of it, not just in the summer months but all year round.”
The study will focus on key projects including the ARU Peterborough campus for up to 12,500 students by 2030, as well as a new multi-purpose Peterborough United stadium with a capacity of 19,500 supporters and the ability to host up to 200 events a year.
It is expected both will be open by January 2023.
Funding for the £45,000 feasibility study has come from the city council, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and Peterborough United Properties Ltd, with the council’s share being allocated from the New Towns fund.
Peterborough United Properties has three directors which are Posh’s co-owners - Darragh MacAnthony, Jason Neale and Stewart Thompson - who intend to own the new stadium separately from the club.
WSP is working with architects MCW on the university campus and Trivandi - a global specialist in major events and venue projects - on the Peterborough United stadium to deliver the masterplan.
A council spokesperson said: “A key aim of the masterplan will be ensuring open green spaces can be protected for public enjoyment alongside the sensitive development of new facilities to enhance this valuable city centre space as a vibrant destination that will play a vital role in the future prosperity of the city.”
Ashley Dunseath, head of masterplanning at WSP, said: “The Embankment will become synonymous with prestigious enhancement, reflecting Peterborough’s ambitious plans for sustainable growth.
“WSP is delighted to lead this first stage to explore the parameters for a consultation on a comprehensive masterplan and to be working with the city council towards the creation of an engaging place for the local community.”