PDH Site Still Derelict As Talks Continue and Costs Mount

07:20 Tuesday 2nd October 2012
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: You’d like a bit of building to be done, wouldn’t you, on the PDH site in Peterborough that’s been derelict for who knows how long?
STEWART JACKSON: Well it’s been empty, that site, since December 2010. And given that the Trust, the Hospital Trust, has got an indicative deficit if they don’t make some pretty big changes, of £54 million, one would have thought that in the last twenty two months they would have got round to actually disposing of the site and start the process of building good quality homes there.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. They’ve had a preferred bidder for quite a while. It’s right in the centre of Peterborough. It’s an absolute eyesore, as you drive in down Thorpe Road, isn’t it?
STEWART JACKSON: It is. The hospital there obviously dates from the ’60s. We now have the Peterborough City Hospital at Bretton Gate. And the Council spent a lot of money two and a half years ago on what they called a Supplementary Planning Document, which is a plan for that site, which is basically residential housing and some retail. And that hasn’t happened. Obviously the Hospital, we found out as a result of Freedom of Information, spent the thick end of £800,000 of public money on residential and commercial estate agents to market the site, and it hasn’t been sold as yet. So something needs to happen pretty quickly.
PAUL STAINTON: It would be like, for those in the South of the County, it would be like closing Addenbrookes, leaving the site derelict for a couple of years, and then moving the Hospital somewhere else. That’s effectively what we’ve done.
STEWART JACKSON: Yes. And of the Trust wasn’t in such a parlous financial state it wouldn’t be such a big problem. I’ve been trying to encourage both the Trust and the City Council to work together. And to a certain extent the City Council has had a bit of a rough deal in the media, having been accused of holding up the site in terms of insisting that a school was built there. My understanding now is that’s not the case. They’re just asking, because of the very significant pressure on primary school places in central Peterborough, for a portion of land to be set aside. And if that happens, then the density of the houses doesn’t have to be so high, and the amount of affordable housing probably doesn’t have to be so high either.
PAUL STAINTON: When I spoke to the man in charge .., we did an outside broadcast last Thursday to celebrate the NHS from Peterborough’s new City Hospital. We were live at Addenbrookes as well .. when I spoke to Peter Redding I said why have you not sold it off. You need money desperately. And he said, well we’re in the final stages of doing that. So he’s confident they’re going to get that money soon.
STEWART JACKSON: they put the project out to a big .. effectively a land broker called Land Improvements. And what they would do, they’ll go into the site. they’ll clean it up. They’ll do the infrastructure and environmental work that they need to do. And then they’ll sell on to developers who’ll actually build the houses. And we’re looking at probably about 350 houses on the site. And that will be great, because people need houses. It’s a great part of Peterborough. It’s a showcase for the whole city as you come into the west of Peterborough. And I can’t really understand why it’s taken almost two years. But hopefully we’re at the end of the tunnel really.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. Hopefully something will get built.