The suggested arena, which would contain a new Peterborough United football ground, is located north of the quay next to the new university buildings, is considered an optional extra.
And the authors of the master plan warn that all other locations must be given careful consideration before the stadium is allowed to move onto the open green space.
But the focus of the 114-page master plan, which was drafted after more than a month of public consultation, is the vital role the Embankment can play as the “heartbeat” of the city of Peterborough.
It sets a vision and charts a course for the wharf’s transformation in a process that could take decades.
Consultants Barton Wilmore, who authored the document, say the Embankment’s open green space has long been underutilized and marginalized.
‘A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Peterborough’
But the regeneration of Fletton Quays on the south bank of the River Nene, the development of Middleholme and the construction of Peterborough University on the other side, have given the Embankment renewed importance.
They state: “The aim of the master plan is to ensure that the wharf once again plays a full and central role in the lives of the residents of Peterborough by contributing directly to the character, vitality, prosperity and sustainability of the city.
“This is a unique opportunity for Peterborough to create a new City Riverside through the revitalization of the Embankment.
They continue, “While the Embankment is a much-loved open space, it also showcases approximately 30 acres of underutilized land that requires an inspiring public realm, greater connectivity links, stronger lighting and security strategies. to truly fulfill its potential for the city. residents and visitors. »
21st century park
One of the main objectives of the master plan is to ensure that the Embankment becomes a 21st century waterfront park with a network of new routes, especially for walkers and cyclists, connecting it to the city center, to d other green spaces and bringing people closer to the waterfront.
But the master plan warns: “At present the scale, design and character of Bishops Road, Rivergate and Bourges Boulevard act to separate the quay from the key town center area and precinct. of the cathedral.
“This Master Plan recommends that further work be carried out to investigate how this interface can be improved in the future to fully realize the contribution this important space can have to the lives, health and well-being of the residents of Peterborough.
A range of new features and facilities such as cafes and toilets are proposed for the quay to encourage more visitors and encourage them to stay longer.
New parking lots adjacent to retail, food and drink near the Key Theater are also offered.
He adds: “Peterborough Embankment already hosts a variety of temporary events throughout the year, including fairs, concerts and the Peterborough Beer Festival.
“The Embankment design provides space to support these large events alongside new spaces, such as the more intimate Culture Hub plaza outside the Key Theater, capable of hosting other alternative ‘pop-up’ activities. such as artists or small markets.
Although the master plan sets out themes for the whole of the quay, it also identifies six individual sites of opportunity – Embankment Park and Riverside, the Cultural Centre, Middleholme, the City University Campus, the Arena.
It says a rejuvenated Embankment Park could become Peterborough’s first public park, described as “a leafy place that provides space for a range of events from a family picnic to outdoor concerts and festivals and at the city’s beer festival”.
The riverside becomes a new destination with water activities ranging from mooring river boats to canoe and paddle board pontoons, while a restored riverside promenade is linked to Fletton Quays with a new pedestrian walkway.
Bishop’s Road is ‘quieted’, allowing the park to be better connected to the city centre.
He indicates that the creation of a cultural center could consolidate the Lido and the Key Theatre. It is proposed to move the regional swimming pool to the south of the Lido. Nearby there could be a terrace car park with workspace/hub/r&d facilities on the upper floors and active uses on the ground floor.
Will there be new cafes and restaurants?
There could also be a riverside restaurant facing south.
On the park side of the Key Theatre, there is a proposal for a community building with modern restrooms, shared space for venue hire including weddings, space for riverside recreation operators and d other support facilities.
The master plan foresees that Middleholme, a former landfill and which is earmarked for 350 homes, could also benefit from local shops, cafes and community facilities.
Did the masterplan mention the university?
The university campus, considered a game changer for the city, is expected to be developed in phases.
The first three phases – an education center, a research and development center and a Living Lab are already underway. These would be complemented by retail, food and beverage, indoor sports and child care.
But later phases are also planned in the south and would include either the renovation and renovation of the regional swimming pool into a university/university building, or the demolition and construction of new university buildings. But this would mean that it would be necessary to redevelop the regional swimming pool and the master plan proposes to move it to the cultural district adjacent to the Lido.
The master plan also considered the creation of an arena, which would house the Peterborough United Football Club, for around 20,000 spectators south of the university on the current athletics track.
Any such decision, he says, would depend on the provision of alternative facilities elsewhere in the city in consultation with the Athletics Cub, Sport England, Peterborough City Council and England Athletics. near the boardwalk.
The master plan states: “These proposals would provide a prominent destination at the embankment site with a strong visual presence of the promenade and riverside.
But he cautions: ‘Care should be taken to assess the impacts of the arena on views of the cathedral and the arena in this setting should be of a high standard of design.’
But the authors do not doubt the enormous challenge that a transformation of the wharf represents.
They state, “The amount of change and new development proposed at Embankment is significant and will take years to complete.
“The areas of opportunity identified are relatively independent and can be presented separately.
They add: ‘The Peterborough Dock Master Plan sets out the overall vision and strategy for the dock which will help focus investment decisions, shape new development opportunities and provide a blueprint for the future of this key element. of the urban fabric of Peterborough over the next 10 to 20 years. years.”