In an announcement to staff and stakeholders today, June 21, 2022, Asset Earning Power Group (AEPG), the owners of East of England Showground Services Ltd (operators of East of England Arena) revealed that it has embarked on a £50M regeneration plan to develop the venue into a purpose-built leisure resort. The development will include entirely new conferencing facilities, accommodation, a health & wellness centre, as part of the leisure village – completely transforming the venue from an existing agricultural showground into a modern and versatile event and hospitality destination.
The land had been earmarked for housing development as part of the Peterborough City Council Local Plan. Last year AEPG began working with the East of England Agricultural Society to promote the land for development and acquired the existing events business.
AEPG and the East of England Agricultural Society are now focused on achieving planning permission from July 1, 2023. This is an acceleration of the envisaged plan due to market demand.
Ashley Butterfield, as CEO of AEPG, welcomed the acceleration of the development process, saying, “The showground will be transformed by this significant investment, creating up to 500 new jobs and many new leisure and entertainment opportunities for Peterborough.”
Pamela Newbould, Head of Events, East of England Arena, described how the changes were being felt by East of England Arena’s customers: “Fundamentally this development won’t change how the majority of our regular indoor shows and events are run. The site will be operating normally until 1st July 2023, and we’re contacting all of our customers to walk them through how the development will affect their events, if at all. We will have to say farewell to some fantastic outdoor shows we’ve worked with over the years, and not without sadness, but as our venue evolves to meet the needs of modern events and experiences, we are very excited for the future of shows, conferences and exhibitions at The Arena.”
The city is looking forward to considerable positive change over the next 5-10 years, with a new purpose-built university opening soon, the council’s City Plan and Cultural Strategy both in effect, and a bid for City of Culture scheduled for 2029.
The regeneration of the East of England Arena and the development of the showground land into housing & leisure, will bolster these initiatives – helping to make Peterborough a city to be proud of, and creating a cultural and leisure destination for the whole country.
As Lee Sharp, as MD of East of England Showground Services, explained, the development project is a big departure from the East of England Arena’s history as a showground and outdoor event space, saying, “Our vision for the future of the venue is to offer an exciting and pleasurable destination for people in Peterborough, and a flagship new event destination for the UK. This is one of the largest projects of its kind in the country at this time, it’s a big moment for the venue and a big moment for Peterborough.”