Peterborough City Council planning officers have recommended that Nene Park Trust’s plans for an exciting climbing and activity centre at Lakeside in Ferry Meadows are approved by the planning committee on Tuesday 23rd March 2021.

In recommending the plans, the planning officer’s report advises that the proposal would enhance the recreational opportunities on offer within the Nene Valley, bring benefits to the local economy, and promote active and healthy lifestyles.

The report also recognises the biodiversity enhancements that the Trust plans to provide as part of the scheme and concludes that the proposal would avoid any adverse impact on the biodiversity within the Lakeside site, including on protected species.

Additionally, it confirms that there are no preferable sites that could accommodate the development in the central Peterborough area.

The planning officer’s report can be found here.

This marks the culmination of four years of consultation, planning, research and development work by Nene Park Trust to offer a year-round indoor activity provision that makes the Park a more attractive prospect for families during the winter months.

The Lakeside Activity Centre is a key element of the charity’s 2050 vision and 10-year masterplan, which involved extensive consultation with the public about the future of Nene Park. This identified the need for indoor facilities to provide visitors with recreational opportunities all year round, in addition to continuing to safeguard the 1,700 acres of parkland and its resident wildlife.

The plans for the new centre include an Olympic-standard climbing facility as well as one of the country’s largest Clip ‘n Climb arenas suitable for all the family. The plans also include a natural-themed indoor toddler play area, an additional café and private hire spaces for community groups. It is expected to create 31 new jobs.


This focus on indoor facilities complements the many well established outdoor activities across the Park. Lakeside Activity Centre will be located next to and share a site with the existing Nene Outdoors watersports and activity centre, creating a defined hub of sport, play, recreation, and leisure in an easily accessible area, well away from the more sensitive nature-rich areas of the Park.

The plans are being brought before the planning committee having been further strengthened by contributions from independent experts on a number of items including Heritage and Ecology. This has included further information on bat activity which identified ways that existing lighting at Lakeside can be made more “bat-friendly”, and which the Trust now intends to complete as part of this project. Flood risk, traffic and access considerations have also been fully addressed.

Matthew Bradbury, Chief Executive of Nene Park Trust, said, “We are very pleased to have reached this key stage in the development of our plans for Lakeside Activity Centre. As a socially-focused, environmental charity, we believe the centre will be a fantastic new addition for Nene Park, delivering new recreational and fitness opportunities to the people of Peterborough in a manner that is in harmony with our commitment to the preservation of nature and wildlife within the park.

“We are delighted to learn that, following consultations with the local community and ongoing engagement with the Peterborough City Council Planning Department, the application has been recommended for approval. We are hopeful that the planning committee will also recognise the benefits of the proposal to Peterborough and give us the green light to bring the project to fruition”.

Clive Osborne, former joint owner of Peterborough Climbing Wall, added his support to the plans. He said: “The climbing centre will provide a much-needed venue for this practice and competition in Peterborough and further afield, especially since our 67-year-old Peterborough Climbing Wall club recently lost its indoor climbing facility.

“At the time of our closure, we had thousands of registered climbers and over 200 members. Sadly, those members now have nowhere local to climb since the nearest sizeable climbing walls are well over 45 miles away in Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Leicester.

“We are so fortunate to have an organisation like Nene Park Trust that is willing to invest in something like this for the people in Peterborough of all ages, classes and abilities - this is an opportunity not to be missed and is the perfect fit for Ferry Meadows.” 

Download our Lakeside Activity Centre update.pdf to find out more about our plans