Garden town hopes for Wisbech

The scale of development which could go ahead if Wisbech becomes a garden town
The scale of development which could go ahead if Wisbech becomes a garden town

“A game changer” could be on the cards for Wisbech if new hopes to create a garden town come to fruition.

Fenland District Council is hoping to ease the housing pressure around Cambridge while regenerating Wisbech and helping to bring about transport improvements under the new proposal.

Between 8,000 and 10,000 homes could be built to the western and eastern edges of the town , along with the introduction of a Local Enterprise Zone.

The district council is hoping the garden town initiative will be one of Cambridgeshire’s “big asks”, alongside a university campus in Peterborough, under potential devolution deals.

Leader of the council John Clark said: “It could be a game changer for Wisbech as it could raise it out of the continued cycle we have got of deprivation.”

A document, which was released last week, states that the average semi-detached home in Cambridge is worth £361,000 – compared to £131,000 in Wisbech.

The proposal includes hopes of creating family and starter homes along with self-build opportunities. The plan would not include affordable rented properties.

There could also be a retirement village with larger than standard bungalows and the creation of a “smart life” modern methods construction satellite training college to Cambridge Regional College and the College of West Anglia. There are also hopes to create a Local Enterprise Zone, which includes manufacturing and businesses originating from Cambridge Science Park ideas.

This development could then lead to the Government providing better transport links for the town, including the hoped for rail link to Cambridge and improvements to the A47.

The proposal is in its infancy and has received some positive feedback, but it needs the agreement of Cambridgeshire district council leaders to be included in the devolution deal.

Cllr Clark said: “I think it could raise education aspirations and attainment in Wisbech as young people could then have access to jobs in Cambridge, which currently is not the case due to the poor transport links.”