Ex-Peterborough planner’s solution to fix Posh stadium Embankment debate
The push from Peterborough United and the city council to see a new stadium for the football club at the Embankment has caused a huge amount of debate.
Campaigners are determined to ‘protect’ the green space from further development, while supporters insist that there is plenty of space for both, even with Peterborough’s new university also being built nearby.
But a former city planner believes the solution is right underneath our noses - significantly upgrade the existing ground with new North and London Road stands.
Kemal Mehmed, who is also a member of Peterborough Civic Society, contacted the Peterborough Telegraph in a personal capacity to promote his idea which he said would also counter claims by Posh’s owners that it is impossible to redevelop the current stadium to the level they wish.
All it would need, he said, is a change in the recent contract between the owners and the council for the former to buy back the current stadium, and to give up plans for new affordable homes at the car park.
Mr Mehmed, who was formerly of the Peterborough Development Corporation, told the PT that an idea which would “surely meet with the fans’ approval” is for a “21st century stadium on the London Road site, the home of Posh for the last 87 years”.
He explained: “The current owners say it isn’t viable but it can be done given the same level of commitment and cooperation between the PUFC owners and Peterborough City Council.
“They have a legal agreement in place where the council pledge to help the club in their plans to build a new stadium. All that needs to be changed are any references to the ‘Embankment site’ to ‘London Road’.
“It is possible to create a modern stadium-cum-arena to fulfil all the functions promised in the club’s latest ideas for the Embankment on the existing ground. It would need the additional land and properties on the London Road frontage.
“However, one of these properties, owned by the city council, is earmarked for development. This is a very serious mistake.”
Mr Mehmed said the affordable homes scheme, if it goes ahead, would “scupper any chance of transforming the historic home of our football club into a stadium fit for a future in the upper echelons of English football”.
He added: “For the sake of a dozen or so semis the club could be condemned to put up with a make-do stadium or even worse, a life on an edge of town industrial estate location.
“There is a real possibility that the Embankment scheme may not come about. There are many obstacles in its way. There should be a Plan B. There are no other sites close to the city centre which are of low enough commercial value to make a new stadium financially feasible.
“Sites such as on the industrial land at Fengate/Oxney Road might be cheap enough, but even that is debatable.
“The option of developing a transformed stadium, using the most modern parts of the London Road ground, and building from scratch the north and west stands, must be kept alive. The plan to build houses on the gravel car park should be put on ice so that this option can still be pursued.”
Mr Mehmed has even drawn up plans for his idea which he said he has shared with the council.
The sale of the stadium from the council to Posh’s three co-owners was completed at the end of March.
The club are now aiming to move to a new, multi-purpose stadium on the Embankment in 2023.
Peterborough United and Peterborough City Council have both been approached for comment.