Councils and organisations need to act now if a scheme to dual a stretch of the A47 is to cash in on Euro funding, according to a Fenland MP.
MP Steve Barclay is calling on local authorities and other groups to prepare themselves for a bidding frenzy next spring when the area is likely to net around £166 million worth of Euro cash.
The North East Cambs MP has drawn up a list of five schemes he believes could win funding through the Local Enterprise Partnerships, who are set to receive money from the European Structural and Investment Funds next year aimed at improving economic growth and social well-being.
Dualling of the A47 is one of the schemes Mr Barclay believes is a prime contender for a share of the £72m the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough LEP is likely to receive and is urging work on a detailed feasibility study on the A47 scheme to be undertaken as a matter of urgency.
The government has announced £250,000 of funding for a detailed feasibility study into the dualling of the A47 between Wisbech and Guyhirn, but the cash won’t be available until next April.
However, Mr Barclay wants either Fenland Council or Cambridgeshire County Council or even both to commit to spending that money now, on the understanding the government funding will pay them back next year.
“The feasibility study needs to be completed as a matter of urgency so a scheme can be prepared ready for when bidding for the EU funding starts early next year,” said Mr Barclay.
“We really need this work to be done as soon as possible so we can prepare a bid in time. Everyone I speak to tells me how important it is for the area’s economic growth to have the A47 upgraded to dual-carriageway, so the sooner we can make progress the better, and this round of European funding could be the opportunity we have been waiting for.”