Bridge Street looks set to house a new arts, library, community, business and education hub in Peterborough.
Two fashion stores are set to be transformed as Peterborough City Council has snapped up the TK Maxx and former New Look buildings in Bridge Street.
The council plans to use them to create a new city centre library and a multi-purpose hub, including community facilities, meeting rooms, rehearsal rooms and studio space for arts, drama and music, space for independent businesses such as a community café, together with access to facilities for community learning and education.
The second and third floor of the building and the former New Look shop look likely to be used to attract commercial income for offices and retail.
Plans for the existing Central library are for it to be converted into residential accommodation once all services transfer to Bridge Street.
The site sits close to the Peterborough’s new university campus which is arriving in 2022 and close to the newly developed Fletton Quays site. Initial consultation has been undertaken with the Towns Fund Town Board, which includes a representative of stakeholders from various groups and sectors across the city and prospective users of the building. This includes cultural groups and the city’s artistic and creative community such as Metal Culture (currently operating from Chauffeurs Cottage) which needs accommodation to enable their activities to grow.
The council is set to purchase the Bridge Street buildings for just under £4million, plus stamp duty land tax and will contribute up to £5million towards refurbishment costs. It is anticipated that this money will be received back through the Towns Board’s bid. As part of this project, the council will be able to sell the existing Central Library site and Chauffeurs Cottage to get money back.
Councillor Peter Hiller, cabinet member for strategic planning and commercial investments at Peterborough City Council, said: “The TK Maxx building is a significant and prominent one in our city centre. Its lease is due to expire in March 2021 and the company is preparing to move its store into Queensgate. Situated directly in the middle of our city’s new city centre which will extend to Fletton Quays and the new university, it is important that we ensure it is not left vacant.
“In addition, the improvement of the city’s cultural infrastructure is a key part of the city’s bid for up to £25million from the Government’s Towns Fund scheme, the application for which was submitted recently. Work is also underway, with support from the Arts Council, to consult upon and develop a cultural strategy for Peterborough that will look at how the city can improve its cultural infrastructure and boost cultural activities in order to build back better post Covid-19.”