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Last month, we announced our plans to build a new activity centre at Lakeside in Ferry Meadows. Following our public consultation, we wanted to let you have a summary of the feedback received, as well as answers to some of the key questions our visitors asked.

We’re very proud that Ferry Meadows is such a special place for the people of Peterborough. People come here to walk or sail, to enjoy nature and run. They fly kites and ride trains. Our hope is that soon, they will be able to climb here too!

Building on our 10-year strategy ‘Doing More with More’ and our vision for Nene Park to be the region’s favourite park, Nene Park Trust is proposing to create an Olympic standard climbing centre on the site of the car park by Gunwade Lake. 

Feedback summary:

On Saturday 3 November, we held a public exhibition event in the John Horrell Room for our visitors to come and see our plans. We also held a preview event for our tenants and key stakeholders on the afternoon of Thursday 1 November.

We had 97 attendees on the Saturday, with 64 people providing feedback at the exhibition itself and preview event, with a total of 290 feedback forms received including online responses.

Overall, 65% of people who submitted feedback support the proposal for the new activity centre. We are pleased with this level of support and also the number of people who said they would use the new facilities.

The most common benefits cited were that the centre would encourage greater use of Nene Park in the winter months, and that it will be a significant boost for Peterborough’s leisure scene and local economy.

Some people did raise questions about the location of the new building and whether it would have an impact on the landscape. We are certainly very alert to this issue and are working with our professional team to design a building which will sit well within the park. Our aim is that this will be an elegant sculptural feature that will be a pleasure to see. The materials used will be carefully chosen to ensure that the building fits well within its local environment, and we will also be planting additional trees around the site to minimise visual disruption. 

Not unexpectedly there were also questions about traffic. As part of the project we will be improving our traffic management creating a one-way system through the new car park and into the overflow car park. This will enable smoother movement of traffic during peak periods and reduce the amount of two-way traffic on the narrowest section of road. We will also take make improvements to the Lakeside road.

We are keen to ensure that the new building has no impact on the nature and wildlife in the park. The building will be on the site of the current car park and our surveys have shown that there are no priority species in the area which will be affected. The vast majority of trees will be retained around the building with substantial additional tree planting planned. The proposed building will also have minimal exterior lighting to ensure safety for visitors but minimise detrimental effects on wildlife, also reducing light pollution in the Park. We also plan to install new nest boxes for priority species such as swifts.

As a charity, our purpose is to provide leisure and recreational opportunities for the people of Peterborough. When we asked what sort of additional facilities we should provide as part of the consultation on our long-term Masterplan last year, many people said they wanted to see indoor activities that would be available all year round.

The climbing centre would add a new and exciting dimension to this part of Ferry Meadows. It would sit alongside the existing water sports facilities, consolidating our activity offer in one place, and leaving large parts of the Park – and of course our rural estate – undisturbed for those who simply wish to come and enjoy its peaceful walks.

With the introduction of climbing in the 2020 Olympics, there is growing demand for this sort of facility in our region – there’s currently a real market niche where nothing else is available like this locally.

As well as climbing, the centre would also include one of the country’s largest Clip ‘n’ Climb arenas for family users, a toddler play facility, an additional café and private hire facilities – a real asset to the Park particularly in winter months.

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 and to help them enjoy Nene Park in new as well as familiar ways! 

We’re yet to submit our planning application – we’re hoping this will happen before the end of the year – and so our visitors will have another opportunity to comment on the plans and more detailed feedback once those documents are made public. If all goes ahead, and if we receive the funds we need to make the project a reality, the centre would open in spring 2020.

For more information, read the frequently asked questions about the project.

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