Groundbreaking: Northminster 315-apartment development begins with ceremony

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A ground-breaking ceremony was held for the Northminster development, attended by Peterborough City Councillors, the leader of Peterborough City council, CEO of PCC and representatives from Peterborough Investment Partnership (PIP).

The planned development by Peterborough Investment Partnership (PIP) is a joint venture between Peterborough City Council and investment specialists IAGH3, which will see the Northminster area 'revitalised', with new housing and commercial space – as well as an improved public realm at Laxton Square. 

The plan was previously revised, from 12-storeys down to 10, and there are still concerns in the city about a loss of parking and a loss of views of the Cathedral.

In total, 315 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will be built across the scheme – with two ground floor units to be used for leisure or hospitality.

The council hopes to boost the Northminster area with the flagship development with new housing and commercial opportunities, alongside improved public space at Laxton Square.  

Speaking as the project got underway on Monday morning, Peter Hiller, a PIP board member, said: “It’s a huge step forward for Peterborough. This is an exciting day for the city and the beginning of a new era for Northminster – the area needed improvement. It was looking tatty and tired.  

"When finished, residents will be able to look out from beautiful apartments and see the spires of Peterborough City Cathedral on their doorstep. They’ll be a short walk from our train station, with great links to the north and south, and an even shorter walk to the excellent bars, shops and restaurants in the city centre. 

“At Fletton Quays we have already seen what fresh, exciting development can do to revitalise our city. We look forward to watching this development deliver on its vision for city centre living.” 

Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, leader of Peterborough City Council added: "This is a key regeneration site for the city. City centre living brings many benefits, both for the residents themselves in terms of all amenities being on their doorstep and also the city centre businesses that provide them.

"We have a lot of exciting developments going on in our city centre at the moment, this is the right development happening in the right time and place." 

All of the apartments will be offered at discounted rents, set at or below 80% of the normal market rate, improving the affordability of high-quality homes in the city centre.  

The development has been made possible, in part, by a £14m grant from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. 

Realising the development will be class-leading contractor, Willmott Dixon. Not new to delivering flagship projects, the company built the Town House at Kingston University, winning the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Stirling Prize last year – and are soon to complete 430 apartments on the Perry Barr Residential Scheme in Birmingham. 

David McCallion, director, said: “We are proud to be delivering this fantastic ten-storey flagship Northminster development in collaboration with PIP and Peterborough City Council, providing affordable housing stock and valuable commercial spaces to further attract investment into the area. 

“The project will benefit from the use of innovative modern methods of construction, with 63% of the project being pre-manufactured value. Offsite elements include a lightweight gauge steel frame, brick slips and the use of bathroom pods, which will help to ensure quality, programme certainty and come with environmental benefits. 

“This is such an important regeneration project for Northminster and we are looking forward to working alongside our delivery partners to revitalise the area for residents and the wider community.” 

This will be the second PIP development in the city, following the regeneration of the city’s waterfront at Fletton Quays – which has seen the construction of Peterborough City Council’s new offices, Sand Martin House, along with new housing, a Hilton Garden Inn Hotel and new Government Hub.  

The application for the development was submitted in July 2021, with updated plans submitted in September - bringing the apartment buildings down from 12 to 10 storeys, following feedback received during stakeholder and public consultations this summer. 

Peterborough Civic Society described the previous plans as "overbearing", while there has been much concern from Peterborough Matters readers about a lack of parking following the loss of the market car park.

The plans were also met with much criticism from the market traders who agreed that development is needed in the area, but expressed their "disappointment" to say no provisions were made for them when the plans were being drawn up.

The traders are expected to be moved out of the current market premises by mid-May, in preparation for their relocation to Bridge Street.