Moving the 100-year-old bus garage out of Lincoln Road, Peterborough, can’t come soon enough for local councillors who lobbied hard ahead of yesterday’s Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA) board meeting to take the next step forward.
The board voted unanimously to push forward Peterborough’s proposed new depot for electric buses, continuing the drive towards net zero public transport for the city and for the Combined Authority region.
And with rubber stamping – finally – of £200,000 to meet Peterborough City Council’s expenses in commissioning further feasibility work on a planned new depot, councillors believe progress is finally being made.
CAPCA’s funding will also enable Peterborough City Council to establish the requirements for the potential site at Nursery Lane and formulate a site specification.
Cllr Asim Mahmood (North ward), Cllr Mohammed Sabir, (Park ward) and Andrew Pakes, Labour & Co-operative Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough, wrote to Mayor Dr Nik Johnson ahead of the board meeting to press for the release of the £200,000.
They urged an “end to the delays” and to “get on with the project to secure a new bus depot and regenerate Lincoln Road.
Their letter said: “The relocation of the depot is also critical to the regeneration of Lincoln Road as a key destination.
“Despite successfully winning grant funding to support the development of a new depot, this project continues to face delays and risks both to costs and feasibility. Like many residents, we are fed up with the delays.
“This project is needed, and work needs to happen at speed.”
The letter continued: “The impact of the delays and political games by the previous council administration means that the cost of delivering this project continue to increase.
“Ongoing borrowing costs and inflation continue to damage regeneration and construction projects.”
The two councillors and Mr Pakes said they had met businesses, residents, bus operators and listened to local concerns “to bring together voices to hold this vital regeneration project to account”.
CAPCA says the new depot could house several operators, with capacity to expand to meet future market needs. It will offer overnight parking and maintenance facilities for buses providing services all around the city.
The identified site, at Nursery Lane, is intended to double as a facility for electric buses, which need powerful charging points for their batteries, and perhaps continue as a depot for Peterborough City Council vehicles.
“Crucially, the new depot advances the Combined Authority’s continuing environmental commitment to bringing in net zero electric buses,” said a CAPCA spokesperson.
“This requires the move from the hundred-year-old bus garage on Lincoln Road to a more spacious site, with room for the barriers essential to protect each charging-station from parking accidents.”
Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said: “This unanimous decision is excellent. It underlines our wholehearted commitment to net zero targets and a modern mix of sustainable, accessible transport services for all.
“Peterborough is a great and vibrant city, and we must all work together to improve electric vehicle provision, facilities for active travel, and the joined-up public transport a great city needs.
“By providing a new depot that can support electric buses, we will get nearer our goal of ensuring all buses and taxis operating within the Combined Authority area are zero emissions by 2030.”
Welcoming the CPCA Board’s unanimous decision, Cllr Mohammed Farooq, Leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “I am delighted that funding has been approved to help this important project move forward and we can now look towards developing a vital piece of infrastructure which will benefit our city for years to come.
“We are fully committed to working with our partners to develop opportunities for environmentally friendly transport. By providing a new depot that can support electric buses, we can continue working towards our key goal of reducing carbon emissions and becoming a net zero carbon city by 2030.
“I am also looking forward to working closely with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to help deliver many of our priorities. Particularly in relation to shaping our public transport, cycling, and walking infrastructure, as well as developing opportunities for housing, skills, and ARU Peterborough.”