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 the New Year. 

The key changes to the plans made as a result of the additional information submitted 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 core design of the building was reviewed as part of the above work and we remain confident with the proposals, maintaining the highest point of the building at 34.25m, ensuring the best climbing facilities for all and delivering the aspirational architectural vision.

Matthew Bradbury, Chief Executive, Nene Park Trust commented: “We’re confident that our proposed plans for an activity centre at Ferry Meadows offer an exciting development for the city of Peterborough. Climbing is a growing sport across the UK – figures from the Association of British Climbing Walls demonstrate that about 1 million people currently climb indoors in the UK, and 2020 is an exciting year as climbing becomes an Olympic sport for the first time.

“As a charity, our objective is to provide recreation for the public through the Park and its facilities, both for Peterborough’s residents and all our visitors. We believe that our revised plans will further allow our visitors to make the most of the Park all year round, building on our 10-year strategy ‘Doing More with More’.

“We’ve listened very carefully to all feedback provided on our original plans and have been in close communication with statutory consultees to provide the additional information required. Our continued commitment to this project demonstrates how passionate we are at Nene Park about offering visitors of all ages and interests the chance to keep active and healthy all year round. We feel that the proposed activity centre will fulfil this offer to our visitors by adding a much-needed all-weather activity facility for the Park.”

The Trust continues to work with Peterborough City Council to secure planning permission for this exciting project. It will come as no surprise that due to the nature of the project and the Covid-19 crisis there have been further delays in it being brought to the Planning Committee. However, we are awaiting a committee date imminently. 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.