Plans announced to realise North Westgate vision…
With plan after plan failing to become a reality we could finally see North Westgate get the long awaited redevelopment it needs with Peterborough City Council stepping in to get things off the ground.
The city council publishes its phase one budget proposals tomorrow (Friday 28 October 2016). One of the proposals looks to invest £15million of capital funding over the next three years to buy land and property in North Westgate so that the council can take a lead role in its redevelopment.
North Westgate was first identified as a major redevelopment opportunity by the Peterborough Development Corporation in the 1971 City Centre Plan. Since then a number of schemes have been proposed by developers but not yet brought forward.
One of the key issues which has hindered the site’s redevelopment is complex and multiple land ownership, with the council currently owning a small percentage of the site.
By the council working commercially with key landowners, assembling land and property and leading the redevelopment process, there’s a much greater chance of it finally becoming a reality.
Councillor John Holdich, Leader of the council, said: “In the summer I promised I would pull out all the stops to see the long-awaited redevelopment of North Westgate. This proposal offers a viable way for us to achieve a comprehensive development of this important site, in the way we have Fletton Quays and the wider city centre.
“It’s too early to say what that scheme could look like, but I can tell you it won’t be a quick or overnight fix. If we become the sole land and property owners we can then take the lead role in its redevelopment, rather than leaving it to the commercial market which has consistently failed to deliver. At the same time as buying land we will be working up a viable scheme with partners which allows us to achieve our vision for this massively underutilised part of our city centre.
“In the past few years we’ve demonstrated that where we take a lead role it can get results and unlock regeneration potential. Take Fletton Quays, a site that was underutilised for decades. We created Peterborough Investment Partnership which has kick started regeneration of this key riverfront site with the start of construction imminent.
“North Westgate is such an important part of our vision for a vibrant city centre and that’s why it is essential we take a lead role in its development.”
If the budget proposal to invest in North Westgate is approved, the council will then enter formal talks with the key landowners, including Invesco and Hawksworth, so that it can progress what will hopefully be a shared vision as quickly as possible.
Discussions with organisations such as the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership and the Homes and Communities Agency will also take place to secure their support for the comprehensive redevelopment of the site. New funding could also be made available as part of a devolution deal for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, if approved.
The council’s phase one budget proposals will be available to view at www.peterborough.gov.uk/budget once published.
Photos: Emma Bothamley for ESP Magazine