Peterborough City Council announces plans to build houses on the site of the old Peterborough District Hospital. Richard Kay the Council’s Policy and Strategy Manager talks to the BBC’s Paul Stainton at 07:37 on Wednesday 9th June 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
STAINTON: Peterborough’s new super hospital in Bretton will be taking patients by the end of the year of course, November. And the PDH site on Thorpe Road will be vacated by the end of twenty eleven. But what are they going to do with it? What do you want them to do with it? Well future plans for PDH were presented at a meeting yesterday, and are expected to be adopted by the Council’s Cabinet next week. Richard Kay is the Council’s Policy and Strategy Manager. Morning Richard.
KAY: Good morning.
STAINTON: So we have a plan already for this site, do we?
KAY: Well we have a draft plan, which is going to Cabinet on Monday. It went to Planning Committee yesterday evening, yes.
STAINTON: And what’s on it? Whats the plan?
KAY: It’s predominantly going to be redeveloped for residential. There’s what’s known as the Supplementary Planning Document, SPD, and that talks about a range of homes from low-density family homes towards the west of the site. But then as you progressively get closer to the city centre, towards near the Station obviously, it’ll be slightly higher density. But we’re not talking about high-rise flats, or anything like that. So about three hundred and fifty to five hundred and fifty homes predominantly, and then a few maybe local shops, a little corner shop type stuff, and community facilities. It’s mainly what’s going to be on site.
STAINTON: Yes. Is it a done deal now? Can people suggest what they’d like to see on the site, or is it too late for that?
KAY: There was a consultation in April, so that’s when people should have put their comments in, in principle. It’s not a complete done deal though. What an SPD is, it just sets out the headlines for the site. It’s not a planning application. That comes next. Why we produce an SPD is just to speed everything up, help everybody, and get that kind of the headlines out there.
STAINTON: Yes. How many people did put suggestions in?
KAY: There was about twenty to thirty people actually responded to it.
STAINTON: What did they say?
STAINTON: Twenty to thirty in a city of a hundred and seventy thousand? That’s not many is it?
KAY: It wasn’t a huge response. Not like some of our other consultations like for example in Eye obviously over the site allocations there where probably well over a thousand people responded to that one.
STAINTON: What did they say then? What did they want?
KAY: On the hospital site they were broadly, it was actually quite supportive. There were some .. the main concerns were around parking. They didn’t want to make parking any worse for the local residents around there, particularly if the station gets more .. the potential of a double-fronted station, so that people could access the train station from both sides. That’s not part of this proposal, but if that ever happened, plus the hospital being redeveloped for housing, they were concerned that people would start to park along the streets. So we will have to look at that carefully. Maybe, this is a long-term idea, but maybe you have to look at some kind of resident parking, or something like that, or permits or whatever, just to stop people parking all over the place for free and walking into town.
STAINTON: So the transport to the station is just a walkway, not a cable-car or anything.
KAY: No. No cable cars. What we do want to do, and this was part of the proposal to help make it happen, although it does obviously .. it’s a wider scheme than just on the hospital side. We’ve got to get it a lot easier for people to walk and cycle into town. I’m a cyclist, and sometimes I cycle over Crescent Bridge. It’s not pleasant.
STAINTON: Yes. You take your life in your hands. Yes.
KAY: Exactly. It really narrows, the road there, when you’re going over. So what we want to do is try and improve and have a dedicated cycle and footway from around the hospital sort of area.
STAINTON: You would need to build a new bridge, would’nt you?
KAY: We would need to build a new bridge yes. And we’ll probably move it, probably put that bridge, or what we’d hope to do is put it as part of any station redevelopment, but make sure that the links kind of cross the hospital site, when that gets redeveloped as well, up onto Thorpe Road. Get people off Crescent Bridge, and off the main road. So what we want to do is when we design places like the hospital site, we get that infrastructure in as well, so that when the station gets redeveloped as well, it all connects together.
STAINTON: Just quickly Richard, what are you doing to safeguard some of the historic buildings? Because I believe the old war memorial is down there, isn’t it?
KAY: Yes. No. Absolutely. The SPD commits that that must be saved as well as there’s lots of other listed buildings around the site as well. And it’s very much .. and this is what Planning Committee said yesterday when they were recommending comments to Cabinet next week is .. we much protect all our historic buildings. Absolutely.
STAINTON: Good stuff Richard. Thank you for that. Richard Kay Policy and Strategy Manager at Peterborough City Council.