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Council leader: A university, Hilton, culture hub...and a sports village?

It has been a very tough year but Peterborough will bounce back- there is a lot going on for the city, Leader of Peterborough City Council, John Holdich sounded optimistic while speaking to Peterborough Matters. 
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PCC leader John Holdich talks about development projects in the pipeline that ill help Peterborough recover form the pandemic (Picture: Shariqua Ahmed)

Despite the lockdown, work continued full steam on major developments taking place in Peterborough. If all goes as per plan, the city could soon have a University, Hilton hotel, government hub and even a sports village among other sites. 

This year thousands of job losses across the country were announced in several sectors, as a result of the pandemic pressures.  

Nevertheless, PCC leader John Holdich sounded positive for the future of the city and said it will take time, but Peterborough has a great future ahead. He says,  the planned developments including the University, the Northminster development and the government hub, the Hilton hotel among other key projects will boost Peterborough’s economy in the long-term. 

The Glinton and Castor councillor was due to retire last year but has stayed on due to the pandemic calling off the elections.  He is thankful to have continued, which has given him an opportunity to see the plans taking shape after years of hard work. 

He said: “Our ambitious regeneration plans moved forward at pace over the past year and will play a key role in ensuring Peterborough remains a great place to live, work and play for many years to come. 

“Fletton Quays is one of our proudest achievements, featuring our council’s offices and hundreds of state-of-the-art apartments. The site’s development is coming along nicely with work on the new Hilton hotel progressing, along with the construction of a government hub, set to be completed in 2022. 

“Construction of our new university is also under way and the benefits it will bring to our city and the region will be enormous and last for generations. 

“Our ambition is to launch a job creating, employment-focussed university that will deliver courses targeted specifically towards industries across Peterborough where demand currently outstrips availability of skilled workers. 

“The university is on track to open in September 2022, catering initially for 2,000 students, with numbers projected to rise to 5,000 by 2025 and 12,500 by 2030. 

“Meanwhile, our exciting work to redevelop Northminster is moving forward and we hope to submit a planning application later this year, so watch this space.” 

“Another significant achievement of the past year was our successful bid to the government’s Towns Fund, granting us £22.9 million. The funds are earmarked for the following five key projects which we are moving forwards: 

  • Riverside Development and Connections – Creating a masterplan for the Embankment, the new University campus and Middleholme. 
  • New and improved visitor and cultural attractions – These include a new library and cultural facilities for the city, as well as improved visitor attractions, better known as the cultural hub. 
  • Developing the Station Quarter – Creating a welcoming route from the train station into the city centre and opening up space for new homes and offices. 
  • Enterprise and Skills infrastructure – Building a new enterprise training and business incubation hub to support new city businesses and start-ups, and a training centre for green technology skills. 
  • Future green city – Creating safer, easily accessible routes for pedestrians and cyclists to the train station and city centre from key sites around the city. 

"These projects have been specifically designed to increase the wellbeing of residents, boost visitor numbers and adhere to the city’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030. 

“Peterborough’s time really is now and we are fully committed to creating a city of growth, prosperity and opportunity."

Councillor Holdich also hinted at a potential ‘Sports Village’ on the cards for Peterborough, although tight-lipped about giving away any further details relating to this project. 

Nevertheless, he painted a picture of a renewed and ambitious Peterborough in the future, but also highlighted it’s going to be tough initially, when we come out of lockdown. 

He said: “The true impact will reflect when the furlough scheme ends in spring and more job losses are announced. And a lot will depend on what restrictions are placed on us when we come out. It will take some time, but I am confident with all the positives in the bag for Peterborough, there will be more jobs, more skilled jobs for different industries in the city. 

“Mayor James Palmer has been in touch constantly with businesses and different people, so we are on it. It’s a fluid plan because it’s constantly changing due to the current situation, but we are confident, Peterborough will bounce back. 

“I know Queensgate has been getting enquiries from businesses asking about available units. Council has been getting enquiries for their units, so things will start to look upwards soon.

“We are ready to build Peterborough and create opportunities for the people of the city.”