Funding totalling £150,000 is being invested in Fenland as part of ambitious plans to bring jobs, infrastructure and growth to market towns across Cambridgeshire.
March, Chatteris and Whittlesey are among nine towns in the county to have received a share of £450,000 (£50,000 each) from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) to help them create Masterplans for Growth.
Following the successful creation of a Masterplan for Growth for St Neots last year, the nine new masterplans will revitalise the market towns and enable them to become, and remain, vibrant and thriving places in their own right.
The schemes will be developed over the next two years, with plans for March, Chatteris, Whittlesey, Littleport and St Ives being undertaken between April and December this year, and plans for Ramsey, Ely, Soham and Huntingdon being developed in 2019.
Welcoming the funding, Councillor Chris Seaton, leader of Fenland District Council, said: “The awarding of this funding represents a very exciting opportunity for our market towns and the Fenland district as a whole. Proposals to regenerate the town centres and improve transportation and job prospects will maximise their potential as great places to live, work and relax, and benefit all of our residents for years to come.
“The masterplans will also complement our ongoing Wisbech 2020 Vision work, which has already received £6.5m from the Combined Authority for the Wisbech Garden Town feasibility project.”
James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “I’m delighted that after the early success of the St Neots Masterplan we’re able to announce the next five. Market Towns form the backbone of our county and I’m keen for the Combined Authority to work with them to set out their ambitions for the future.
“Since the Masterplan for St Neots was first launched last summer the steering group has been established and over £5 million has been committed to the town. I hope that progress is as swift with the other plans and that it’s not too long until people start to see results on the ground.”
Local leaders, communities and businesses will identify what their towns need most, bringing these ideas together into a single plan. A shared ambition for the future, the masterplans will focus collective resources on key priorities and be used to unlock new investment to support future growth from both the Government and private sector to make them a reality.
A Partnership Team for each market town will be brought together by Fenland District Council, assisted by the CPCA, to enable public, private and community representatives to collectively engage the wider community and businesses gather evidence and generate ideas, with the support of specialist consultants.
Councillor David Mason, Fenland’s portfolio holder for growth, said: “The Wisbech 2020 Vision continues to help Wisbech realise its full potential, and now thanks to these new Masterplans for Growth, March, Whittlesey and Chatteris can begin to realise their potential too. We are keen to work together with our partners in the town councils, the Combined Authority and our local communities, to come up with bold ambitions for the future growth of these towns.”