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An Embankment football stadium: The case against

A new Facebook group set up to oppose Peterborough United's potential new ground being built on the Embankment has gained more than 1,200 followers in just five days.
A group has been set up to Save Peterborough Embankment

Members of the "Save Peterborough Embankment" group objects to the location of the plans for a new ground for Peterborough United, due to be built by 2023.

The apolitical group is not against a new stadium for Posh - just not on the Embankment - and believes the public has not been consulted on such a large development in one of the city's prime prominent green havens. 

Admin Rebecca Jackson said: "The group was set up over concerns that a vital and well loved, public green space in the city centre to development. 

"We have been overwhelmed by the support from and passion of members of the group and we reached over 1,000 members within 24 hours."

Another admin, Hazel Perry, said: "We would like to confirm that we are not against a new stadium but think it should be built in a more appropriate place and that a meaningful public consultation should take place before any further agreements are made with the developers."

Posh feel that if they are to make a long-term step up to the Championship they will need a ground that can not only take bigger crowds of around 20,000 people, but also host events such as live music and conferences.

The town investment plan, from July 2020, states: "Peterborough United Football Club have commenced pre-planning discussions about developing a new £50m, 20,000 capacity-stadium incorporating conference and events centre facilities.

"The proposal, on the Embankment, is an exception to planning policy. However, it is strategically significant and could provide benefits to the city, and its visitor economy as well as scope to enhance the University curriculum. To ensure a development on this scale could in a sustainable way, there is a need for a comprehensive masterplan to enable issues such as access and movement, car parking, utilities and ecology to be properly investigated."

 The group has a number of concerns, and with so many members a number of diverse points and actions have been raised, including: 

*Urging members of the group to contact their ward councillors, as well as MPs Paul Bristow and Shailesh Vara and local media

*Concerns over travel in and around the city centre on match day when it is already constricted, paticularly around Bridge Street and of course London Road

*More details on the Masterplan for the Embankment, to be conducted by professional services consultancy WSP, to consider the stadium alongside the new university campus, a pedestrian footbridge to Fletton Quays and improvement of the river space to utilise the open green space along the stretch of the river. 

*Questions over planning permission, and how the ground will be financed - and under what terms

*Current usage of the Embankment. Season ticket holder Davide Broccoli, who does not want to move, said: "I walk most days and see very few people use that space even in the summer it is empty. It is not appealing for families or picnics, the PCC has just left it and done nothing with it. If they would have made it like the park with features benches, trees, flowers etc I would 100% understand.  If you really want to save the Embankment, come up with a plan for that green space that would make it appealing to families and that PCC can stop and think."

*Comparisons with neighbours Cambridge, which has retained green spaces at Parkers Piece, Jesus green, Midsummer Common and Grantchester Meadows 

*Posh fans having mixed feelings about the development; Season ticket holder Ryan Jupp said: "The city centre is already dying on its feet and if the football stadium was to move outside of the city then it would be the final nail in the coffin for the City of Peterborough unfortunately. This new stadium along with the University may just save it."

*Questions over why the stadium cannot be built on the current site, now owned by the club (Peterborough United Properties Ltd); the other side of the Parkway in what is due to be called the Middleholme development, or even converting the current athletics track or greyhounds track

*Parallels with the situation at Ken Stimpson school, where a plan to fence off a section of the playing field has been stalled after local pressure to Peterborough City Council

*Advice on lodging a professional objection to the plan

*Complaints that the move flies in the face of city aspirations to become an Environment Capital

The group can be seen here