Important step taken for key city centre regeneration sites

The process to regenerate large areas of the city centre has taken an important step forward with a decision to transfer two council-owned sites to the Peterborough Investment Partnership (PIP) expected to be confirmed next week.

A cabinet member decision notice was published today (Thursday 15 October) and is due to be authorised by the cabinet member for resources, Councillor David Seaton, next week. This will agree to transfer Fletton Quays and Pleasure Fair Meadow car park to PIP.

It follows an outline planning application being submitted for the Fletton Quays site by PIP.

In December 2014, the council set up PIP to take forward a number of sites initially through the planning process then to secure an investor to implement the physical redevelopment.

At that time the council also confirmed they intended to relocate the majority of staff to new office premises on the Fletton Quays site, if the proposal proved to be financially beneficial to the city and the council.

If the relocation goes ahead the council will become an anchor tenant to kick-start development on this key regeneration site, utilising, in part, the listed railway sheds to build state-of-the-art energy efficient offices that allow staff to utilise the most modern working practices.  This also demonstrates the council's long-term commitment to remain in the city centre.

Officers are investigating the viability of the move before putting the decision before councillors in due course.

The council has already reduced the number of offices they use in order to save money and to bring staff together more centrally. For example, officers no longer work in Bridge House, Laxton House, Midgate House, Cavell Court, Stuart House or Northminster House.

Any future relocation plans would not result in the sale of the Town Hall and the civic functions of the building will be retained. Work is also underway to establish whether it is practical to relocate the Customer Service Centre to the Town Hall which would enable Bayard Place to be vacated.

Opportunities to convert Bayard Place for an alternative use, including residential conversion, are being investigated.

A final decision on the plans to relocate to Fletton Quays and the future use of the Town Hall and Bayard Place is expected next year.

Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, deputy leader at Peterborough City Council, said: "The recent progress to regenerate Fletton Quays is encouraging and I am confident that these plans will lead to the regeneration of the area with a mixture of leisure, office and retail facilities.

"We are now carrying out detailed work into the costs of moving our back office to Fletton Quays - but the proposal must be financially beneficial to the council and the city as a whole in the long-term or it won't happen. It's also important to make clear that the Town Hall wouldn't be sold and would be retained as the democratic heart of the city - however it is possible that some of the office areas could be leased for other uses.

"This is an exciting time for Peterborough; we are the second fastest growing city in the country, the amount of investment is increasing and new businesses starting up have hit record numbers. Fletton Quays has sat empty and unused for too long and the planning application submitted by PIP is a very important one for the future of the city."

Following the transfer of Pleasure Fair Meadow car park to PIP it will continue to operate as it presently does until regeneration plans are sufficiently advanced to require it to be vacated.

PIP is a joint venture between the city council and Lucent Strategic Land Fund. The council transfers the land into the partnership and Lucent the funding and then when a site has gained planning permission it will be sold and both parties take a share of the profits. Any profit is divided proportionately between the council and Lucent according to each party’s contribution to each scheme.

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