Peterborough Station Quarter gets the vote
Plans for a greener, more accessible and people-friendly Peterborough Station Quarter were today approved as the Combined Authority’s transport bid for the Levelling Up Fund Round 2.
In March, the Government announced this second round of the Levelling Up fund – for transport-only projects that will uplift local areas, support town centre and high street regeneration, and make the most of cultural and heritage assets.
Under the Government’s levelling-up rules, the Combined Authority is allowed to submit only one transport project for funding and the winning bid came from Peterborough.
The project having gained a unanimous thumbs-up from the Board, the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority team will now collaborate closely with Peterborough City Council in drafting the application before submitting the bid by the July 6th deadline.
The Peterborough Station Quarter transport project promises more fluent walking and cycling connections between the station, the town centre, and areas west of the station, encouraging people to take healthier and more climate-friendly travel options.
It is part of a much wider scheme that will also reallocate space for commercial and residential use.
Peterborough Station connects with key areas of Eastern England and the rest of the UK so the scheme’s value will be regional as well as local and support future expansion.
In addition, the scheme will help Peterborough attract more knowledge-intensive and high-level employment by taking advantage of the city’s rail links to London and other key cities in the UK.
Central to the overall project is a new western entrance to the station and associated parking. Currently, the only parking is east of the tracks, so development of a double-sided station – allowing easy access for cyclists, pedestrians and cars to both east and west – will alleviate pressure on city centre roads making it safer to get around Peterborough by bike.
At present, there is a substantial surfaced area for parking, empty of plant and animal life. The idea is to consolidate car parking areas, bringing ‘nature’ into the design – and particularly into community space.
The Environment Act 2021 requires a finished development to offer 10% measurable increase in biodiversity. But the Independent Commission on Climate, set up under Combined Authority auspices, recommends aiming for higher-than-mandatory biodiversity targets because Cambridgeshire is one of the UK’s most nature-depleted areas, and therefore needs to kickstart its recovery faster than other places.
Peterborough Station Quarter would be a key contributor, slashing carbon emissions in the county by boosting rail travel and helping Cambridgeshire cut private vehicle use by its target of 20%.
Peterborough Station Quarter is a £70m project, the funding value for this Levelling Up Fund bid is £48m. Match funding from the project is expected from Peterborough City Council, Network Rail, LNER, and commercial and residential development.
If the bid is successful, the Combined Authority will act as a grant funding body to delivery partners. Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities guidance states that Levelling Up funding “would need to be spent by 31 March 2025, and exceptionally, into 2025-26 for larger schemes” of which the full Peterborough Station Quarter scheme would be one.