Peterborough City Council provides services for over 215,000 residents and works strategically to deliver economic growth and investment.
Its newly adopted Corporate Strategy sets out plans to achieve a Sustainable Future City Council which delivers improved opportunities for all and a financially stable council.
Peterborough is a city of opportunity – it is one of the fastest growing parts of the Eastern Region, vibrant, multicultural and with a younger than average population.
Between 2015 and 2019, the city’s population grew by 4.28% whilst the local economy grew by 27.44%, evidence that Peterborough can attract high productivity growth and in an inclusive and sustainable way.
The city is the third fastest growing urban economy in the country and among the top 15 cities with the highest number of business start-ups and patents in the UK. Peterborough has also grown to become a top four employer in the UK’s ‘Golden Logistics Triangle’, providing for thousands of additional jobs within the warehouse and transport sector in and around the city.
With a new university, ambitious plans for re-imagining the city centre and the embankment, well maintained parks, the city is surrounded by an abundance of nature, local markets, a wide range of retail offerings and many tourist attractions. All this, supported by a proud heritage and world class digital infrastructure, is making Peterborough an attractive place to live, invest, work, visit and play.
The East needs to be considered as a force for national growth in its own right outside of London and the South East.
The area requires increased focus and investment to meet its full potential and could easily provide an extra £30bn in economic growth and in turn an increased tax income for the Treasury in excess of £10bn.
The government is seriously under investing in the area and missing a huge opportunity for growth. This is further demonstrated in the government’s approach to levelling up for which the East region, with a population of 6m, will receive £87m with a further £287m focused on town centres. Scotland has a population of 5m but will receive £1.5bn in funding.
Focused additional funding into the area for key transport infrastructure and assistance in bringing forward currently unviable development sites is required to accelerate growth as a national priority.
What opportunities for growth exist that remain untapped
The East of England is home to innovators and entrepreneurs. In agriculture, technology, and life science, as well as manufacturing and green energy, the East leads the way.
Cambridge has an unrivalled concentration of knowledge intensive businesses as well as institutional assets that are responsible for attracting inward investment both on a national and international stage. However, Cambridge has limited space for housing development and employment sites, and it is questionable if the city can manage the strains of accelerated growth. In addition, the area has the UK’s slowest A-road speeds causing problems for commuters.
Peterborough offers a huge opportunity for both housing and economic growth. The city lies 37 minutes from Kings Cross by rail, 1hr 20 minutes from Stansted airport and is well connected by the strategic highway network, to the extent that many blue-chip companies are locating their logistics hubs on the city limits.
Over 1m rail travellers are using the interchange at Peterborough, as they travel on to Leeds, Birmingham, London, Cambridge, and Edinburgh. ARU has opened a new university this year with 1,000 students commencing studies in 2022 and a trajectory of 5,000 students by 2027 and 12,000 from 2030 onwards. The city has brownfield and greenfield sites that can provide a housing pipeline in excess of 10,000 new homes and city centre sites that could provide home for a developing digital and green tech manufacturing cluster, sectors that are already organically growing in the area and that will be supported by the university’s curriculum. Government attention and focused funding in Peterborough equates to housing, growth, and jobs, it is a no brainer.