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Letter: Embankment stadium confusion is 'creating divide where none need exist'

The co-owner of Peterborough United Stewart 'Randy' Thompson has written an open letter to fans about the proposal to build a new stadium on the Embankment.
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The notion of new stadium for Posh at Peterborough Embankment has attracted supporters and detractors

Dear Posh supporters,

As you’re no doubt aware, we – the POSH owners – are working collaboratively and effectively with council to buy back the Weston Homes Stadium (London Road). We look forward to a joint announcement with the city later this month. At the same time, it is well known that we have been working with PCC to find a location for a new ground.

We believe the Embankment would make an ideal home for POSH for decades to come. Not only is the location ideal for access by home and away supporters alike, our proposal would see what is currently a dramatically under-utilised piece of land become an enhanced city-centre focal point for the people of Peterborough and the surrounding area.

Keep in mind our proposal is not just for a new stadium but for several ancillary facilities including a tech centre, innovation hub, convention halls, and restaurants. Along with the new University, our proposed facilities will help transform the Embankment to a multi-use destination that retains large tracts of publicly-accessible green space. The difference is that green space would be upgraded to be substantially more usable than it is today. Our vision would see Peterborough take its rightful place in attracting A-list concerts and sport competitions – something we simply can’t accomplish at the current ground.

There is much confusion swirling that has led to a couple of seemingly-opposed Facebook groups discussing a potential new stadium on the Embankment. This has been well-publicised and, I believe, is creating a divide where none need exist. As such, I’ll take a bit of space to clarify our position.

  1. We have not yet started the formal planning process with the city. We have had meaningful discussions with council on the Embankment location and we continue to be encouraged that this can work.
  2. While a new ground on the Embankment is not currently part of the formal Adopted Local Plan for development, we are encouraged that the city’s strong growth focus as detailed in “The Time is Now” spells out that the Embankment holds “…exciting opportunities for major multi-use commercial sport/leisure facilities and activities”.
  3. Once we initiate the formal planning process with the city, the PCC will conduct a full and robust consultation process. The people of Peterborough will have their say. Obviously we believe our vision is well-conceived and in the best interests of the city, the citizenry, and the club. We encourage each of you to learn more at embankmentstadium.com and to join the Peterborough Embankment Stadium Facebook group.
  4. The footprint needed to achieve our vision requires about one-third of the available south Embankment lands and only ~10 per cent of the combined north and south lands. This means fully two-thirds of the current green space on the south Embankment will remain with the city. Further, As the University gets built and we bring our vision to life, that large area of green space can be upgraded for use by the families in our community, transforming the Embankment to a city centre focal point for Peterborough.
  5. Our vision is completely compatible with other annual cultural events on the Embankment, such as the annual Beer Festival. We like beer too, so bring on the tents.

To summarise, I think it critical that we let the facts form the basis of the discussion going forward. It’s normal for people to have differing perspectives but I believe our vision for the Embankment coupled with the new University can become something that brings the people of Peterborough together rather than dividing them.

Up the POSH!

Stewart Thompson