The Combined Authority has committed almost half a million pounds towards plans to bring jobs, infrastructure and more to nine Market Towns across Cambridgeshire.
Following the successful creation of a Masterplan for Growth for St Neots, the Combined Authority Board has approved £450,000 of funding to create nine more Masterplans for Growth that will enable its Market Towns to become, and remain, vibrant and thriving places in their own right.
Cllr Charles Roberts, Deputy Mayor for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said:
“Our Market Towns are currently home to 190,000 people, and by 2036 we expect that figure to rise to 260,000. We must therefore look at long-term strategies now to ensure that our Market Towns flourish in their own right. To date, no single strategy has fully recognised the scale and importance of Market Towns to our local communities and the economy, something that our investment today will remedy.”
James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said:
“I’m delighted that after the early success of the St Neots Masterplan we’re able to announce the next five. Market Towns form the backbone of our county and I’m keen for the Combined Authority to work with them to set out their ambitions for the future.
“Since the Masterplan for St Neots was first launched last summer the steering group has been established and over £5 million has been committed to the Town. I hope that progress is as swift with the other plans and that it’s not too long until people start to see results on the ground.”
Local leaders, communities and businesses will identify what are their towns need most, bringing these ideas together into a single plan. These Masterplans for Growth will mean that every Market Town in the county will have a shared ambition for the future which authorities, businesses and community can unite behind. It will focus collective resources on these shared prioritise and be used to unlock new investment to support future growth from both the Government and private sector to makes these plans a reality.
Cllr Roberts continues:
“The importance of our Market Towns cannot be underestimated. Today’s decision is a clear sign that we are committed to investing more money and attention to help these towns realise their full potential. We want to see more jobs created in and around these towns so that people can live and work in the same community, with vibrant town centres. We want our local communities to be excited about what the future holds for their town.
“These Masterplans will create an evidence-based ambition and action plan for each Market Town that clearly articulates the needs of the local area from new job opportunities and education and skills provision through to community facilities and local attractions. The Combined Authority has seen power and budgets pass from Westminster to Cambridgeshire, and these plans will help ensure this flows further into our Market Towns. They are the key to unlocking each area’s full growth potential, and to enable us to make the case to Government for even more investment, so I hope that local businesses and residents will come up with bold ambitions for the future growth of their towns.”
A Partnership Team for each Market Town will be brought together by the District Council to enable public, private and community representatives to collectively engage the wider community and businesses, gather evidence and generate ideas, with the support of specialist consultants.
The Masterplans will be developed over the next two years, with plans for Chatteris, March, Littleport, St Ives and Whittlesey being undertaken this year, and plans for Ramsey, Ely, Soham and Huntingdon being developed in 2019.
St Neots already has a Masterplan in place, and the Combined Authority have committed £6.5m towards the Wisbech Garden Town feasibility study, as well as supporting the wider work of the Wisbech 2020 initiative to ensure all 11 Market Towns in the area have the appropriate level of support.
Work to is due to commence in April 2018, with all Masterplans concluded by December 2019.