Peterborough Riverside Opportunity Area

17:18 Thursday 18th October 2012
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

NICK FAIRBAIRN: A massive redevelopment in Peterborough has come a step closer. The City Council says it’s ready to find a business partner to redevelop the city’s South Bank. Good news, although given that the final bill could be around £1 billion, you’d think they could have come up with a snappier name than the Riverside Opportunity Area. Well earlier I spoke to Andrew Edwards, who’s Head of Growth and Regeneration at Peterborough City Council, and I started by asking him what the redeveloped area could look like. (TAPE)
ANDREW EDWARDS: In terms of the future look of the redeveloped area, that’s something that we would decide when he have the joint venture established, in terms of the physical look of it. In terms of what do we anticipate on the site, well, it’s going to be a mixed regeneration including leisure, heritage, some cultural stuff in there, and also residential. So those are going to be generally the areas we’re looking at.
NICK FAIRBAIRN: Yes. And you’re looking for a partner, aren’t you, to help along with this development as well. And are you optimistic of being able to do that? Because it’s a tough economic climate of course at the moment. Do you think that’s viable?
ANDREW EDWARDS: I do. You’re quite right. I quite agree with you. It’s one of the toughest environmental .. er .. economic climates we’ve seen for .. oh, years. Let’s not kid ourselves on that one. So bringing this forward is challenging. But the key thing here is that we’re not going out with predetermined ideas on what actually we’re looking for on the site. We’re looking to work with the developers to bring forward the right type of development that meets both the aspirations of the people of Peterborough, together with financial and environmental sustainability.
NICK FAIRBAIRN: Hmm. So it is going to happen? Because there’ll be skeptics out there, won’t there, people that say, well we’ve heard this sort of thing before. North Westgate was a project that was mothballed, wasn’t it? People will say is this going to go the same way. Can you reassure them?
ANDREW EDWARDS: I can I believe. I’m confident that this will move forward, and I think the key here is that we, as I said, we have not predetermined the type of development we’re looking on there. In fact the one thing I would say at the moment is that the thing that we wouldn’t be looking for would be a big food store. We’re actually looking for something that will add to the quality of life for the people in the area.
NICK FAIRBAIRN: OK. And there’s been some talk about the East Station hasn’t there possibly. I know it’s mooted possibly bringing that back into use. Is that going to be part of your plans at all?
ANDREW EDWARDS: Well we’re more than happy to talk to Network Rail about the possibility of bringing it back into use. But in terms of whether or not we’ve made that assumption in this development, the simple answer is no we haven’t.
NICK FAIRBAIRN: OK. But you wouldn’t rule that out at this stage.
ANDREW EDWARDS: Oh not at all. Not at all. We would welcome the engagement with these organisations about bringing something, a station like that, back into use.
NICK FAIRBAIRN: Ok. So Andrew, you’ve got an open mind about the project, by the sounds of it. So is ir therefore quite difficult to put a time scale on this, do you think?
ANDREW EDWARDS: Well that’s .. in terms of going through the new procurement process which we’re required to go through, we’re anticipating having a joint venture partner on board in December 2013. But yes, in terms of the overall development, the key to ensuring the success of this is bringing the right partners forward at the right time. Because things that at the present moment, projects at the present moment, are not sustainable, will be in the future. We need to be in the position where we can take advantage of that.