Fenland MP demands fair share of growth deal millions

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Fenland must get its fair share of funding from a new growth deal settlement awarded to the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough local enterprise partnership (LEP), the area’s MP has warned.

The LEP has been awarded more than £37 million in the latest round of funding, announced by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on Thursday.

Its chairman, Mark Reeve, said: “This continued investment in our LEP area is critical to unlock key barriers to growth, delivering infrastructure upgrades and new housing that are vital to the economic success of both our area and UK Plc as a whole.”

But the department said the package would help to ensure that areas like Fenland “are supported to meet their own economic challenges.”

And North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay said that was a clear signal for the district to bid for a new enterprise zone in the area.

He said: “The government has clearly indicated its intention that the Enterprise Zone should be located in the north, and last time said its preference was for an Enterprise Zone in a rural area, so both now apply to Fenland.”

He added that he had also asked Fenland Council officials for a list of their forthcoming projects, in a bid to maximise investment in the district so he and they could “work together to ensure our fair share” of the funding.

The funding announcement comes amid the ongoing row over the management of the LEP over what Mr Barclay sees as a lack of investment in the Fenland area.

Last week, the LEP insisted it was committed to supporting business growth in Fenland, following allegations made by Mr Barclay about its affairs.

Mr Barclay said its response has been “inadequate” and he had raised concerns with DCLG ministers, who advised him that the funding announced would not be handed over until April.

The partnership has said it will be responding to the claims.