A new group is being set up to lobby hard and bring forward improvements to transport in the north of Cambridgeshire.
The new Moving Forward North Cambridgeshire group will look at how to speed up transport improvements that are currently holding back the local economy and improve accessibility for local people getting to jobs and vital services.
Cambridgeshire County Council is to set up the group with Fenland District Council following its work with partner agencies on the Wisbech 2020 Vision, A14 Summit and A47 Alliance.
Top priorities to move forward will be improvements to the A47, transport links between March and Wisbech, including looking at rail and solving the King’s Dyke Level Crossing problem.
The group is aimed at looking at transport issues in the north of Cambridgeshire as a whole and working with partners, public services and communities to drive forward improvements.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning, said: “North Cambridgeshire is a great place to live and work but it is clear that poor transport links are placing a stranglehold on the area. In the past major transport improvements such as rail and new roads could only be achieved through Government funding but in these tough financial times it is difficult to get the finances needed from Westminster. However, the County Council has been trialling new ways of finding funds for much needed major transport projects that had previously been bogged down.
“Our work with the Wisbech 2020 Vision, A14 Summit and A47 Alliance has shown a real willingness from councils and partners across borders to work together to achieve what is best for the people we serve. Councillor Tierney attended the A47 Alliance meeting and gained support for this new initiative. The Moving Forward Group will lobby hard where we can to unlock funds and will also work together to bring forward schemes and business cases to see where alternative finance can be found. It is part of Cambridgeshire County Council’s commitment to improve the economy, increase jobs and make sure people have access to the services they need.”
Fenland District Council Leader Alan Melton, said: “We have already seen through the Wisbech 2020 Vision how working together on an agreed problem can help us take a great leap forward in solving some of the problems we face. The recent A14 summit also showed a willingness between bordering authorities to work on issues that have a knock on effect for us all. We are already making headway on these projects but this group will give us extra impetus and a much more coordinated and concerted effort to deliver these improvements.”
Cambridgeshire County Councillors Steve Tierney and Sam Hoy, who came up with the idea, said: “This group will not only bring together public bodies from within and outside Cambridgeshire but also local people and organisations. Together we have the expertise and voice to bring about these much needed improvements. It is important that we are able to invite local campaigners into the group, both for individual issues and meetings, but also for longer periods - to make sure that the area is speaking with one clear, loud voice. The current national financial situation means there is little chance of bringing about real change unless communities and councils are prepared to do it themselves. We have already seen this working and I look forward to this new group helping to further improve transport in the north of Cambridgeshire.”