Fenland holds the key to the economic success of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough says Mayor James Palmer

Pictured at the conference are, from left, Cllr Ian Bates, chairman of Cambridgeshire County Councils economy and environment committee; Combined Authority Mayor James Palmer; Wendy Otter, Fenland District Councils Transport Development Manager; Chris Leech, Business Community Manager for CrossCountry; Hayley Bull, Stakeholder Liaison Manager for CrossCountry; Cllr Simon King, FDCs Portfolio Holder for Transport; and Alan Neville from Greater Anglia.
Pictured at the conference are, from left, Cllr Ian Bates, chairman of Cambridgeshire County Councils economy and environment committee; Combined Authority Mayor James Palmer; Wendy Otter, Fenland District Councils Transport Development Manager; Chris Leech, Business Community Manager for CrossCountry; Hayley Bull, Stakeholder Liaison Manager for CrossCountry; Cllr Simon King, FDCs Portfolio Holder for Transport; and Alan Neville from Greater Anglia.

Fenland’s rural transport challenges and future infrastructure needs were brought into focus at the district’s first ever Transport Conference.

The event, held at the GER Club in March on Thursday (12) was hailed a great success, with several community groups attending to discuss transport issues and explore ways in which the local network can be improved.

James Palmer, Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, was among the guest speakers at the event, organised by the Fenland Transport and Access Group (TAG) with support and sponsorship from train operator CrossCountry. Mayor Palmer said investing in Fenland was key to the whole county’s success.

He said: “One of my top priorities as Mayor is to fight and lobby for Fenland to get the investment it needs into its transport infrastructure, whether that be a new train station at Wisbech, the M11 extension or an A47 that is fully dualled between Peterborough and Wisbech.

“Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will only achieve its full economic potential if Fenland achieves its full economic potential and this will only happen if we are prepared to overhaul transport infrastructure, both road and rail across the area.”

Chris Leech, CrossCountry’s Business Community Manager, also told how CrossCountry was investing in its network and working with local Community Rail Partnerships to make a positive impact on the communities they serve.

“CrossCountry, alongside our industry partners Network Rail and Greater Anglia, understand just how important rail services can be for the communities we serve. This conference marks a great foundation for Fenland District Council’s development of a new transport strategy.

We look forward to working them on its implementation, helping deliver further benefits to this important community.”

The conference also shared information on existing transport services and included workshops and group discussions on how they can be developed while improving access for people with transport difficulties. Visitors were also given an early opportunity to help develop a new transport strategy for Fenland.

Findings from the conference will now be reviewed over the next few weeks.

Simon King, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet member for transport, said: “The Transport Conference was an extremely successful and positive event. I’d particularly like to thank Wendy Otter (the council’s transport development manager), and her transport colleagues

for organising this inaugural event and also partners and everyone who came along on the day to support it.

“There were many ideas shared on how Fenland’s accessibility challenges can be met, and I look forward to seeing how they influence the development of our new transport strategy.”

The conference was also supported by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, Cambridgeshire County Council, Wisbech Town Council, Care Network and other local community groups and organisations.