Peterborough City Council’s chief executive Gillian Beasley
described how the URC would operate when she spoke to local business
leaders at the Greater Peterborough Investment Agency’s annual
review meeting at The Cresset yesterday (Tuesday 25 November).
She said the council’s cabinet is
expected to approve the URC proposal shortly, after which it will be
ratified by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) before being
submitted to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for final
approval by March 2004.
The Council has already identified “an
expert in redevelopment and regeneration” as its preferred head of
the URC, which would be jointly funded by the city council, EEDA and
national regeneration agency English Partnerships.
However, the private sector would lead
the URC and the city council would have no more than 20 per cent of
the voting rights, said Mrs Beasley.
“Peterborough is often perceived as
being on the periphery of the Eastern Region,” she said. “We want
to achieve regional significance and attract funding from various
sources through a tightly-focused URC that will bring about the
transformation of the city centre.”
Earlier this year the city council
published ambitious re-development proposals for ten sites in the city
centre. The plans include 85,000 sq m (915 million sq ft) of new
shopping, 48,000 sq m (516,480 sq ft) of new leisure and cultural
facilities, 111,000 sq m (1.2 million sq ft) of offices and other
workspace, and 2,500 new city centre homes for almost 6,000 people.
Mrs Beasley described how significant
progress is already being achieved. Queensgate Centre owners Morley
Fund Management and specialist developer Hammerson are expected to
start public consultations on a major expansion of shopping facilities
in the North Westgate area in February.
Meanwhile, EEDA has already bought
over 60 per cent of the land needed for re-development of the South
Bank of the River Nene, which is earmarked for high quality homes,
flagship offices, a conference hotel, workspaces and cultural and
The Council is also talking to Network
Rail about re-development of Peterborough railway station to create a
new, dynamic ‘gateway’ to the city and first proposals may be
published in the next few months, said Mrs Beasley.
GPIA chief executive Gloria Milne
urged local business leaders to give wholehearted support to the
council’s plans. “The URC offers an opportunity for real joined-up
thinking about Peterborough’s future,” she said. “It may
challenge us to step outside our ‘comfort zones’ but now is the
time to change and inject some ‘can-do’ culture.”