The development of a masterplan for the future of the Peterborough Embankment, in which the new university for the city will be a key feature, has been supported with a grant of £100,000.
Peterborough City Council will develop the blueprint for the 70 acre site by the River Nene on which ARU Peterborough will be based. The Combined Authority Board backed the funding at its meeting on Wednesday (July 28). The masterplan will explore options for enhancing the green space to ensure it remains a safe, sustainable, usable and accessible asset for the city.
The first two phases of ARU Peterborough are currently being built and doors will open to the first 2,000 students in September 2022.
The £300,000 masterplan will support the university development in a number of ways.
Firstly, a masterplan will support the Combined Authority’s application for outline planning consent for phase three of the university. The third phase will combine additional teaching facilities at the campus with the development of a cultural hub as part of a new university quarter.
Timely progress on planning is important because Peterborough City Council’s £20 million bid to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund (LUF) for the third phase requires the design development starting by the end of March 2022 in order to be able to start the construction by March 2023, to meet the conditions of funding.
The masterplan will also demonstrate how the ARU Peterborough development will contribute to the creation of an exciting and inviting new part of the city centre, which residents can be proud of and benefit from using. Peterborough City Council will also canvass opinion among local stakeholders on the masterplan, which will in turn help to understand opinion on the ARU Peterborough development and its setting.
The masterplan is due to be completed in the first quarter of 2022.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said: “ARU Peterborough will be part of an exciting new future for a city which has so much potential.
“This masterplan will be important in both supporting the university’s development, and helping to create a new, exciting addition to the city, in which the university provides a new cultural dimension for local people to enjoy.
“This masterplan will support another important another step forward for ARU Peterborough.”
ARU Peterborough is a partnership between the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Peterborough City Council and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU).
The phase three development will host thousands of additional students – both school leavers and those already in employment – drawn mostly from the local area.
ARU Peterborough will seek to tackle a cold spot for skills in the city and its region. The aim is to produce local graduates helping to fill the higher-skilled jobs of the future, in turn supporting local businesses, boosting prosperity and improving public health and wellbeing.
Leader of Peterborough City Council Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald said: "This funding, which complements £200,000 already awarded to the council by the Towns Fund, will make a real difference for both the plans for ARU Peterborough and the development of the wider Embankment area.
"The masterplan will create and guide a vision for this piece of land for the future. Retaining green space will be at the heart of this, alongside creating good walking and cycling routes for people using the area.
"Of course, ARU Peterborough is central to the vision for this area. The funding will help progress on our new university continue apace, ready for the city to welcome the first students in 2022."
Professor Ross Renton, Principal of ARU Peterborough, said: “As well as being an innovative university campus, ARU Peterborough will include high quality open public spaces for everyone to enjoy.
“We really welcome this additional funding for the masterplan so we can ensure all aspects of the new development also meet the needs of our local Peterborough community.”
Approval was also given by the Combined Authority Board to provide short term funding for mobilisation works for phase three, which will help ensure its development meets the Government’s construction deadlines.
A decision by Government on the LUF funding bid is expected in the autumn.