man scaling an indoor climbing wallBack in October 2018, Nene Park Trust announced plans to open a new activity centre at Lakeside in Ferry Meadows. The centre was set to include an Olympic-grade climbing wall as well as one of the country's largest Clip 'n Climb arenas suitable for all the family; a natural themed indoor toddler play; an additional cafe and private hire spaces. 

Building on our 10-year strategy ‘Doing More with More’ and our vision for Nene Park to be the region’s favourite park, the centre was planned to enable us to provide even more recreational activities. Our aim is to keep people active, whatever the weather, and deliver on our charitable objective of providing recreation facilities for the people of Peterborough all year round!  

After initially submitting plans for a new activity centre in Ferry Meadows back in March 2019, the Trust reviewed feedback from members of the public and worked closely with statutory consultees to address outstanding planning questions and requests for further information. Satisfied that all requirements had now been met, the plans went back out for consultation throughout December 2019 for a decision to be made at the planning committee early in 2020

The key changes to the plans made as a result of the additional information submitted in December 2019 are as follows:

  • Elements of the Landscape Visual Impact Assessment have been revised based on feedback from the PCC Landscape Architect. Further photography and landscape modelling has been undertaken.
  • Nene Park Trust has liaised further with Historic England and with their support the proposed build-up of the car park has been amended to reduce the amount of excavation taking place and clarify the approach to construction.
  • An external lighting strategy has been prepared with collaboration between ecologists and engineers to ensure light levels will not cause issues for bats and other wildlife.
  • Feedback has been reviewed around bird strike and looked at again with our ecologists and PCC Officers.
  • Minor amendments have been made to the arboriculture reports to make these as clear as possible about the trees affected.
  • A full transport assessment has been undertaken including traffic surveys and modelling to confirm the initial Transport Statement submitted was correct. This has confirmed that the impact on the surrounding transport infrastructure at peak times will not be significant or reach their capacity thresholds.
  • Nene Park Trust has reviewed the landscaping plans slightly which has resulted in more cycle parking and identified opportunities for significantly more should there be the demand
  • Minor adjustments have been made to the Flood Risk Assessment on feedback from the Environment Agency including some additional design detail.
  • Further information has been provided on drainage strategy to ensure the PCC drainage team are happy with the scheme.

The final round of consultation begun in December 2020 comes after the Trust worked closely with Peterborough City Council’s planning team to complete additional expert contributions on a number of items including Heritage and Ecology, including further information on bat activity and proposed lighting. The study on bats confirmed the plans would not adversely impact the various species found in the park whilst increasing the understanding of bats across the park. The work has also identified ways that existing lighting at Lakeside can be more “bat-friendly”, which the Trust now intends to complete as part of this project.

Matthew Bradbury, Chief Executive of Nene Park Trust, said, “We have a clear vision to improve the leisure and recreation, culture and environmental offer for people across the city year-round. The new Lakeside Activity Centre is a key part of these leisure plans and will provide an all-weather facility for people of all ages. We are excited to take this forward to the final stage and hope the plans will be considered by the planning committee early this year. 

“These are, however, just one piece of our masterplan jigsaw. Alongside Lakeside Activity Centre, Nene Park Trust has also invested substantially in improving our environmental and cultural offer throughout Ferry Meadows, Orton Mere, Thorpe Meadows and the Rural Estate. This has recently included large-scale wetland meadow improvements, a new 750m boardwalk in Bluebell woods, an expanded volunteer programme, our new electric passenger boat and broader watersports offer, hosting of the Sculpture Collection and Peterborough Presents and our new Share Farming initiative amongst a range of other and ongoing projects. These combined improvements are helping more people in the city get outside and be active in a variety of different ways.”

The Trust continues to work with Peterborough City Council to secure planning permission for this exciting project. We are awaiting a committee date early in 2021. Keep your eye on our website and social media channels later in the year for the latest news on the result of the planning application.

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