Ed Murphy On The Hospital Site

political_developments07:25 Thursday 30th January 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[P]AUL STAINTON: Now, people of Peterborough, you’ve got your first glimpse of the plans to develop the old PDH site on Thorpe Road. It’s looked like a bit of an eye-sore the last couple of years. That big old bit of land on the left hand side as you drive into the city. The fences have been up, the windows have been smashed, the weeds have grown 65 foot tall. So what are we going to get in place of that? Well a public display of the developer’s initial plans for the site was held yesterday at the Great Northern Hotel. Labour city councillor for Ravensthorpe Ed Murphy was there. Ed, morning.
ED MURPHY: Good morning.
PAUL STAINTON: Were you excited by the plans for what has essentially been a bit of an eye-sore for the last two or three years? Was it something that excited you Ed? You went to the Great Northern yesterday Ed. What did you make of what you saw?
ED MURPHY: Yes I did. The consultation has been undertaken by a firm called Political Developments. It’s very good. They were actually asking people what they wanted to see on the site. They had indicative plans for 350 houses and a new primary school. And the quality looks to be of quite high standard as well. Nearly 400 people turned up I understand yesterday …
PAUL STAINTON: Really?
ED MURPHY: .. which is an awful lot. There were concerns expressed about traffic and other matters. But the feasibility is now going to go to the developer, and they’ll review what they’ve got in the plans. It’s a phased development. It could take four years to complete, and they’ll be selling plots off. I know developers are already interested in buying plots to build houses on.
PAUL STAINTON: So it’s basically broad brush strokes at the moment, and the company that have the land are hoping to sell bits of it off to various people. But essentially the main plans is the 350 houses I suppose. But people will be worried that if it’s going to take four years, and there’s a lot of building work going on, that’s a main artery into Peterborough, isn’t it?
ED MURPHY: The site is basically in three parts. There’s the hospital site, the place near the City Care Centre and there’s a Gables, which is a large detached house. The Gables is off Thorpe Road. But you’re quite right I think. There will be a lot of fabric to take down and maybe a lot to take away along Thorpe Road from the hospital. The site has got a lot of asbestos on it. It will take some time to make it clean and safe. and that will be quite a lot of work. A lot of the materials can be recycled as well, and won’t need to come off site.
PAUL STAINTON: Did they give any indication as to when the tearing down might start, and the rebuilding might begin ?
ED MURPHY: Yes. They hope to actually have the land ready and safe to hand over early next year for the school to be built. So some of it will happen quite quickly. And I believe planning permission can be sought in the next few months, and there may well be houses going up early next year.
PAUL STAINTON: Talking about housing, what sort of houses were they looking like? Affordable housing?
ED MURPHY: Again that was a question that they asked, people who visited, what level of affordable housing they wanted. And bearing in mind this site is relatively near town, it’s near medical facilities. If we’ve got to have a rejuvenated town centre, then maybe types of living for older people perhaps, with communal gardens and things like that. So there could be some out of the ordinary developments going on here, as well as traditional built houses.
PAUL STAINTON: It sound interesting, doesn’t it? And it certainly needs sorting out, because it is a disgrace really, on the way into town, isn’t it?
ED MURPHY: The whole process has been a disgrace. It’s not been joined up. Developers have had to sort it out. And the local authority weren’t able to provide leadership or a plan. We knew for years that the hospital was moving, and then it lay empty. I can remember lobbying the Education Minister four, five years ago, about the university idea, and meeting with the Principal of Anglia Ruskin on site. Yes, there should have been forward thinking. It’s been left empty. The value of the land’s gone down while it has. But at least now we’ve got a plan that will bring homes to the area. No retail, which I think is quite good actually, and a new school.
PAUL STAINTON: It’s not often you and Stewart Jackson are on the same page there, but you appear to be with your criticisms. ==========