New city centre library and multi-purpose culture hub set for Bridge Street

An opportunity to purchase the TK Maxx and former New Look buildings in Bridge Street (62-68) has been snapped up by Peterborough City Council.

The council plans to use the buildings to create a new city centre library and a multi-purpose hub, including community facilities, meeting rooms, rehearsal rooms and studio space for arts, drama and music, space for independent businesses such as a community café, together with access to facilities for community learning and education. The second and third floor of the building and the former New Look shop also provide opportunities to attract commercial income for office and retail uses. In total the buildings has 89,000 sq ft across three floors.

Plans for the existing Central library are for it to be converted into residential accommodation once all services transfer to Bridge Street.

The site sits close to the Peterborough’s new university campus which is arriving in 2022 and close to the newly developed Fletton Quays site. Initial consultation has been undertaken with the Towns Fund Town Board, which includes a representative of stakeholders from various groups and sectors across the city and prospective users of the building, including cultural groups and the city’s artistic and creative community.

There has been initial consultation with groups such as Metal Culture about their need for accommodation to enable their activities to grow and there will be widespread engagement with existing and future library users as plans for the renovation of the building are taken forward.

The council is set to purchase the Bridge Street buildings for just under £4million, plus stamp duty land tax and will contribute up to £5million towards refurbishment costs. It is anticipated that this money will be received back through the Towns Board’s bid. As part of this project, the council will be able to sell the existing Central Library site and Chauffeurs Cottage to achieve money back.

Councillor Peter Hiller, cabinet member for strategic planning and commercial investments at Peterborough City Council, said: “The TK Maxx building is a significant and prominent one in our city centre. Its lease is due to expire in March 2021 and the company is preparing to move its store into Queensgate. Situated directly in the middle of our city’s new city centre which will extend to Fletton Quays and the new university, it is important that we ensure it is not left vacant.

“In addition, the improvement of the city’s cultural infrastructure is a key part of the city’s bid for up to £25million from the Government’s Towns Fund scheme, the application for which was submitted recently. Work is also underway, with support from the Arts Council, to consult upon and develop a cultural strategy for Peterborough that will look at how the city can improve its cultural infrastructure and boost cultural activities in order to build back better post Covid-19.”

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