Council leaders welcome multi-million pound investment across Fenland towns and villages
Millions of pounds are set to be spent in Fenland creating a construction training hub at Wisbech, providing affordable homes in Manea, developing a skills facility in March and building new business space and a manufacturing launchpad in Chatteris.
Fenland District Council leaders have welcomed the £7.5m investment from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, which will bring jobs, economic grown and much-needed new homes.
The combined authority's board agreed funding for key projects at its meeting this week, when approval was also given to Fenland’s four ‘Growing Fenland’ Masterplans for Chatteris, March, Wisbech and Whittlesey.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor James Palmer said: “I’m proud that the Mayoral Combined Authority I lead is reversing the long decades of under investment in our Fenland towns. I’m determined that nobody should be left behind and our Masterplans for Growth are all about ensuring these communities share the economic success we’re building across the whole region - and have a real say in how their unique and historic towns evolve to embrace new opportunity.”
Created as part of the combined authority's Market Town Masterplans for Growth programme, the bold regeneration plans were developed by Fenland Council with representatives from local authorities, businesses, schools and the community in each of the towns.
The plans will now be used to bid for a share of a £5m pump-prime funding earmarked by the combined authority to implement market town plans across Cambridgeshire.
Investments agreed by the Board for Fenland include:
* £3m from the Local Growth Fund for a construction training/incubator in Wisbech - a new facility on the College of West Anglia site to facilitate construction skills around modern methods of construction.
* £3.1m from the Local Growth Fund to create a manufacturing launchpad in Chatteris.
* £997,032 from the Local Growth Fund to develop new business space at Fenland District Council's South Fens Business Centre in Chatteris.
* £400,000 from the Local Growth Fund to develop skills facilities at March Community Centre.
* £1.3m from the Affordable Housing Programme (non-grant) to acquire a residential development site in Manea for up to 40 new homes, possibly including eleven affordable homes.
Councillor Chris Boden, leader of Fenland Council, said: "The funding is fantastic news for the district and demonstrates confidence in Fenland’s economic future."
He added: “I’m delighted our district is set to benefit from millions of pounds of investment,” he said. “It will help our businesses to thrive, give our people the skills they need and generate new jobs, while paving the way for attracting further investment.
“It will also enable the construction of quality new homes which might otherwise not have been developed; helping to support Fenland’s housing growth objectives.”
Councillor Ian Benney, the council’s portfolio holder for economic growth, added: “It’s great to see the combined authority inject regional growth investment into some of Fenland’s key economic projects.
"It’s exciting news for the district as it will provide local people with new skills training opportunities and give firms the support they need to scale up, become more productive and increase their local and global reach.”
More by this authorSarah Cliss