Realising a long-held dream to regenerate Peterborough’s South Bank
The area of Peterborough’s South Bank had long been mooted for redevelopment. Ambitions of a vibrant expanse of high-quality homes, office space, hotels and restaurants set on the city centre bank of the River Nene had been a pipe dream for many a city council cabinet.
The area has a rich heritage as the home of Peterborough’s first rail station; however, it had been an unappealing mix of derelict land and vacant buildings for decades. Any new development would have to reflect the heritage and ensure it was integrated with the wider city centre.
The redevelopment took a significant step forward in 2015 with the announcement by the Peterborough Investment Partnership (PIP) that they planned to submit an outline planning application for the site. PIP is a joint venture partnership formed between the City Council and a private capital markets partner, bringing together land acquisition capability, the understanding of the city’s needs and viability, investment, planning and development expertise.
PIP’s plans for the £120 million redevelopment included the refurbishment of the existing Grade II Listed rail buildings on the South Bank and their incorporation into the scheme. The site was renamed Fletton Quays. However, having a plan and a name was one thing; ensuring the site was deliverable and well received by all key stakeholders was another challenge.
Thorough and wide-ranging stakeholder consultation
Athene and Peterborough city centre go hand in hand. It was our home for almost 20 years. Some of us live there, and we always want the best for it. PIP asked us to use our extensive knowledge of Peterborough to lead the community and stakeholder audit for the planning application.
We conducted a comprehensive consultation, communicating the proposals to key stakeholders and the wider community throughout the application process. This involved delivering key messages and branding, conducting stakeholder briefing sessions, hosting public exhibitions, providing newsletter updates, creating a project website, managing social media, and conducting media briefings.
We handled challenging relationships with key local stakeholders and ensured the delivery and understanding of positive messages.
Successful planning application and flourishing relationships
Fletton Quays became a reality. The planning application was approved by the city council in 2017.
Athene continued working with PIP, managing ongoing public relations and community liaison services for the project as it progressed. This included close collaboration with key site occupiers, Weston Homes for residential development and Peterborough City Council for business occupancy. Additionally, we announced the opening of a prestigious Hilton Garden Inn hotel.
To benefit the Peterborough community, we set up a camera on the riverbank to capture a video timelapse of the development build. We even arranged for a beer called ‘Quays’ to be on tap at the annual CAMRA Peterborough Beer Festival in partnership with a city centre brewery. After all, supporting successful planning applications can be thirsty work. Cheers!