Combined Authority Board approves £10.5 million Wisbech road upgrade package including a roundabout at Broadend Road junction to help deliver on growth ambition for town
Essential road schemes including a roundabout at the notorious Broadend Road junction of the A47 in Wisbech are to be fast tracked to ensure they meet a government deadline.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority agreed £10.5 million of funding to bring forward a package of improvements to the town's road system which will help stimulate housing, economic and jobs growth.
The funding is coming via the Government's Growth Deal Package, but that expires in March 2021 making it imperative that work gets underway as soon as possible to meet the time criteria.
Wednesday's authority board meeting in Ely heard the schemes have been independently assessed to ensure they are the best solutions to address problems on the road network, and support the ambitions for growth.
The business case has identified a strong benefit-cost ratio (BCR) for the measures, which is the technical benchmark by which such schemes are assessed as offering value for money. The study was worked up following £1 million of funding from the former Greater Cambridge, Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership, now the Combined Authority’s Business Board, and £0.5 million from the Combined Authority.
The Fenland Local Plan includes proposals for 3,550 new homes in Wisbech and 30 hectares of new employment land to deliver around 2,500 new jobs to 2031. The King's Lynn and West Norfolk Local Plan includes up to 550 new homes to 2026 on the eastern side of Wisbech. The package of road improvements approved by the board is to stimulate and accelerate this growth.
The measures have already been out to public consultation and some amendments were made to the schemes as a result. Schemes within the package include a new signalised staggered junction at Cromwell Road and Bridge Lane, improvements at the junction of the A1101 Elm High Road, a roundabout at Weasenham Lane and the roundabout at junction of the A47 and Broadend Road.
The programme of works will be sequenced to accelerate the delivery of the schemes, where construction will begin as soon as the detailed design is complete and will see some overlap of the detailed design and construction phase.
Mayor James Palmer said: “This £10.5 million package of measures will be a big boost for Wisbech, and will help meet the ambitions for housing, economic and jobs growth in and around the town.
“We cannot effectively deliver on these ambitions without improving our infrastructure and so I’m delighted the Combined Authority Board has been able to support these much needed upgrades.
“These measures will sit alongside our wider infrastructure and investment plans that will benefit the Wisbech area. This includes fully dualling the A47 in Cambridgeshire, moving forward with reinstating a rail link between Wisbech and March, and the development of a Masterplan for Growth for Wisbech, aimed at improving the town as a place to live and work.”
Now the scheme has been approved, the Combined Authority will await confirmation from the Government that the funding from its Growth Deal has been released.
Also at its meeting on Wednesday the board agreed £1,5 million for the next stage in the process for re-opening the Wisbech rail-link.
The funding will look at building the business case for bringing the railway back to Wisbech.
According to a report which went before the board: “This is a major new study to develop a business case and single option design for reinstating rail services between March and Wisbech which should consider onward connections and connectivity to Cambridge and Peterborough.
“The study will also consider lower cost, non-heavy rail alternatives. The study will be carried out for the Combined Authority and will be procured and managed by Cambridgeshire County Council on its behalf.”
It is estimated it will take nine months to complete the study.