Wisbech schemes focus of bid for Government's levelling up cash
Councillors are due to sign off on a package of schemes aimed at winning Government cash from its levelling up funding at a meeting on Monday.
Fenland District Council's cabinet is being asked to approve a short-list of projects, which includes a visitor centre for Wisbech Castle and improvements to the area around the historic building which link it to the Market Place.
The schemes will form a bid due to be submitted to the Government early next month with the hope of winning money from round two of its £4.8 billion levelling up funding.
The move comes after the council agreed last year to spend between £75,000 and £100,000 on developing a Town Centre Spatial Plan (masterplan) for Wisbech along with a levelling up funding (LUF) bid. Consultants were appointed to do the work and a further specialist was also appointed to support the council in developing a "compelling" bid based on projects from the masterplan.
A report to Monday's cabinet meeting explains members have met with the consultants to discuss potential opportunities in the town and to help guide the development of the master planning work.
Members have also met with the bid development consultant, who has described the process as competitive, requiring a bid that is cohesive with projects linking together well and a bid that is compelling in terms of its economic impact and resultant benefit cost ratio.
As a result of these discussions and the masterplan opportunities that fit the LUF criteria, members have selected projects to be submitted to Government for a bid in July.
The report, written by Phil Hughes, interim assistant director, adds that MP Steve Barclay's office has also commissioned "a piece of place shaping work" - developing a narrative for Fenland
Mr Hughes said: "It is expected that this work will also be used to support the Wisbech LUF bid submission."
His recommendation to Monday's meeting is to formally agree the three projects being put forward as part of the bid.
These are: Castle visitor centre and improved public realm linking the castle and market place;
• Old market place including street greening and public realm enhancements between the town centre old market place and Nene waterfront;
• College of West Anglia - green skills centre
The last scheme is dependent on the expected approval of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority for funding in the region of £2 million.
He added: "These projects will bring significant capital investment into the town centre regenerating public spaces and offering skills development opportunities, ensuring that Wisbech has every chance of using the impressive heritage and cultural assets to attract people into the town to live, work and visit in the future. These projects will have a demonstrable impact on the local economy - necessary for the LUF bid."