The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Board has approved allocating £10.5 million of funding to bring forward a package of improvements to the road system around Wisbech.
The highway improvements will stimulate housing, economic and jobs growth in the town, with the funding coming via the Government’s Growth Deal package.
The interventions have been independently assessed to ensure they are the best solutions to address problems on the road network, and support the ambitions growth in Wisbech. 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 Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Local Plan includes up to 550 new homes to 2026 on the eastern side of Wisbech. The package of road improvement measures approved by the Combined Authority Board is to stimulate and accelerate this growth.
The measures have been put to public consultation and some amendments have been made to the schemes as a result. Schemes within the package include a new signalised staggered junction at Cromwells Road and Bridge Lane, improvements at the junction of the A1101 Elm High Road, roundabout at Weasenham Lane and a new roundabout at junction of the A47 and Broadend Road.
On Monday (November 26) The Business Board, which replaced the former Greater Cambridge, Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership when it merged with the Combined Authority, recommended that the Combined Authority Board approve the funding on Wednesday (November 28).
The Combined Authority Board was advised that because the Government’s current Growth Deal programme ends in March 2021, it was imperative that approval was sought now to progress the works to meet the given time criteria. 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.
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.