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What plans are in place for the Embankment regeneration?

Peterborough's Embankment will look very different by the end of 2023.
What plans are in place for the Embankment regeneration? Photo: Terry Harris

As part of the regeneration works for the city, luxury flats at Fletton Quays will be joined by a Hilton Hotel with rooftop bar; a new university; and possibly a new football stadium and a project to replace the current regional pool, alongside the present Key Theatre. 

The university, in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University, has made good progress on the development plans, Steve Cox, executive director for Place and Economy said in the Portfolio Progress Report to the Growth, Environment and Resources Scrutiny Committee at Peterborough City Council (PCC).

The phase one building for the new university has now received planning approval, with an application for phase two anticipated in Spring 2021, which will include a proposal for "decked" car parking. 

Mr Cox added: "Preparatory site works commenced on the site of the University and building work will commence in January for the appointment of Bowmer and Kirkland as the main contractor. There is a very tight construction delivery programme for phase one and especially phase two in order to meet the target opening date of Autumn 2022.


MB ARU-PETERBOROUGH-GROUND-BREAKING 08122020 013Sod cutting began at the university site in early December. Pictured from left: Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of ARU, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer and the Leader of Peterborough City Council Cllr John Holdich.Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography
 Pictured from left Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of ARU, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer and the Leader of Peterborough City Council Cllr John Holdich.Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography

"Four acres of land which will accommodate phases one and two are being transferred to a Property Company vehicle in which the Council, the Combined Authority and ARU will have shares. The Combined Authority is actively pursuing opportunities for funding phases three and four of the campus via a submission to the next round of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the recently announced ‘levelling up’ funds and pilot ‘shared prosperity’ fund."

The new university could also gain the use of the current Regional Pool site, which is set to relocate after PCC labelled the current site "not wholly fit for purpose". 

Upon review of the Regional Pool, in a previous Budget Cabinet meeting, Mr Cox said: "The site occupied by the Regional Pool is adjacent to the area allocated for the city’s university development. While the plant and equipment within the building is approaching end of life the building itself is structurally sound and could potentially be repurposed for university-related uses."

As part of plans for the new university, the former Wirrina Car Park closed, and contractors are able to start to transform the former site.

ARU Peterborough is on track to open to its first cohort of 2,000 students in 2022, with an ambition to increase the number of courses to accommodate 12,500 students by 2030.  

The curriculum will be designed to meet local economic needs for the benefit of local residents and businesses.

In response to emerging areas of employment, the university's first four faculties will be:

  1. The Faculty of Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  2. The Faculty of Creative and Digital Arts and Sciences
  3. The Faculty of Agriculture, Environment and Sustainability
  4. The Faculty of Health and Education

Students will learn through a mixture of on-campus lessons, in-work training and apprenticeships. The university also hopes that distance learning and outreach programmes will improve accessibility and widen participation.

Peterborough United Football Club joined the regeneration plans with a proposal to build a new stadium with the capacity of 17,500 people on the Embankment. 

Plans have continued to be delayed due to Covid-19, with an initial forecast date of 2022, later pushed back to January 2023, and since pushed back to mid-2023, as Stewart 'Randy' Thompson, the co-owner of Posh, said on Twitter over the festive period that he expects a further six months' delay due to coronavirus. 

LargeWhere the Posh ground is projected to be Photo: Supplied

The club is working closely with Peterborough City Council as the stadium will form part of the major development of the Embankment, holding up to 200 events a year.

The stadium concept will be based on Ferencvaros' Groupama Arena, following a visit from the club's owners.

A new Hilton Hotel is set to join the development at Fletton Quays in Spring 2022, which will also see a rooftop sky bar with unique views across the city. The new development has been labelled a "game changer" by Propiteer Hotels and the RGB Group. 

At the time of the ground breaking ceremony in July, Cllr John Holdich said:  "Our vision for Fletton Quays was to kick start a major development of a site that had laid undeveloped for years and together with the Peterborough Investment Partnership we have spearheaded its transformation and boosted our economy. 

"I am very excited about this. It is a great day for Peterborough. It shows that Hilton has got confidence in what the council is doing for the city.  

"Currently Peterborough is on fire with the new university, regeneration of the market area, the hotel, office block going up across the way, the city is really going forward, despite the virus."

PCC and PIP commissioned a study to examine the likely future demand of parking spaces in the city centre, and the need for electric vehicle charging points. 

In the Portfolio Progress Report, Mr Cox wrote: "The study follows the loss of city centre spaces in the wake of the demolition of the Market Car Park, and the identification in the local plan of the loss of car parks including Wirrina and Pleasure Fair Meadows to planned development.

"The research was carried out by Royal Haskoning and found that overall occupancy of city centre car parking spaces is low at 57% and that Peterborough has a high level 16 of parking spaces relative to other English cities of a similar size. The loss of several sites to future development is not perceived in general to be a problem for the city.

"However, there is a risk in some areas – notably around the Embankment that demand for car parking may outstrip supply as the University grows and the Fletton Quays site is fully built out. The study highlights solutions to this such as the introduction of decking on existing car parks, for example, Riverside and Bishop’s Road."

The Wirrina car park closed on October 18 to allow for work on the new university development to begin. Though car parks at Bishop's Road and Riverside remain in use. 

Although it's been closed due to coronavirus and control has been handed over, Key Theatre still remains at the Embankment as a vital asset to the city. 

In the Growth Environment and Resources Scrutiny Committee, Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, wrote in the Culture and Leisure Services Report that we have an "opportunity" with the Key Theatre. 

He said: "We have an opportunity, through the Arts Council recovery grant, to develop at pace a new and vibrant offer for our theatre.

"We see the Key Theatre as an important venue in our city offering, with its strategic central location and set alongside the embankment where there is huge potential for outdoor events to be held and to collaborate with the new university.

"We are also working collaboratively with both the Cresset and the New Theatre to ensure that we do not compete unnecessarily for the same audiences, but instead create a diversified offer to attract visitors from both within and outside our city."


Key TheatreKey Theatre external. Photo: John Baker

Arts Culture and Heritage services previously provided by Vivacity, including Key Theatre, transferred to City Culture Peterborough (under City College Peterborough) last year, with ongoing plans to continue running the sites. 

Across the water at the Embankment, further projects include a new government hub at Fletton Quays, with 1,000 employees moving into the building in 2021, with MP Paul Bristow pitching the city to the government as it's "only a 50-minute train journey from London". 

At the time, Mr Bristow said: "This is great for Peterborough. It is a fantastic city with so much potential and excellent transport links.  

"It’s got so much going on including a bustling retail and hospitality sector and skilful population and a University on its way. So, it’s definitely a great location for a civil service move away from London. 

"It’s a right step forward in bringing high-paying jobs to the city with so much potential."

The Passport Office currently based on Northminster is also getting ready to be moved to Fletton Quays to be situated near the current Peterborough City Council Offices.

Further plans and planning permission will be announced later in the year as part of the new development in the city.