Combined Authority helps market towns hit by market forces
Community sport, solar energy, and history in Whittlesey stand to benefit from switched funds following the Combined Authority Board’s decision to support a clutch of community projects chosen by the Town Team.
Members noted the latest financial position for the Market Towns Programme and decided to reallocate £195k from the cancelled Whittlesey Heritage Centre to fund the four community projects proposed.
Whittlesey Town Team settled on several community focussed projects for the funding. These projects either reflect priorities within the Whittlesey Growing Fenland Market Towns Masterplan or issues important to the community that have arisen since that report was originally developed.
The four projects are:
1) Community basketball / tennis / netball facilities; lighting upgrade and secure fencing (£55,000)
2) Add to the existing solar PV provision on the Manor Leisure Centre swimming pool building to improve sustainability (£110,000)
3) Improvements to the market place, removal of trip hazards, and consideration of improved power supplies for community events and the market (£20,000)
4) Development of a heritage display in the local library featuring one of the Must Farm Long Boats or a replica, and other items from the dig alongside interpretation boards telling the story of Must Farm and as part of Whittlesey’s heritage (£10,000)
The reallocation is subject to external appraisal and sign-off from the Combined Authority’s Performance and Risk Committee.
Against a background of delays and price spikes caused by Covid, market forces and the cost of living crisis, the Board also approved revised project delivery timings and completion forecasts for the Market Towns Programme.
The Board also approved the submission of a funding application from Fenland District Council to the Combined Authority Board in January 2023 to consider the allocation of £255,750 towards progressing a Strategic Outline Business Case for Whittlesey Southern Relief Road.
Members also agreed the reallocation of any underspend from ‘closed or completed’ projects to cover the funding gap for the Chatteris Museum and Community Centre project, and any other ‘in delivery’ projects requiring additional funds within the Market Towns Programme portfolio, subject to sign-off.