The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) have today, (Monday, October 29), welcomed a budget announcement from Chancellor Phillip Hammond that sees significant investment into our UK high streets.
He announced a high street regeneration fund of £675 million and a cut to business rates by a third for small businesses for the next two years.
The CPCA has been active in lobbying central government to prioritise investment into our town centre economies by providing evidence of work in our region.
The Authority has already adopted a strong policy of supporting the development of prosperous and vibrant market towns through a series of Market Town Masterplans beginning with a £4.1 million investment for St Neots.
Mayor James Palmer, said:"I'm delighted with the support that the Government have provided in today's budget statement to our high streets and town centres. The support the Government will be providing both in terms of rates relief and the £675 million fund to rejuvenate high streets and their transport links could be a game changer for many of our town centres and retailers.
"What's so pleasing is how the support that the Government is providing dovetails so much with the Combined Authority's agenda to support our town centres through our market town master plan strategy that is already leading to significant investment into our town centres.
"Only a couple of months ago the Deputy Mayor and Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, Charles Roberts, made a submission to the 'High streets and town centres in 2030' public inquiry led by the Housing, Communities and Local Government select committee making clear the importance we place on supporting our town centres and high streets. It's pleasing that the Government share our view and as Mayor I will look to ensure that Cambridgeshire town centres and high streets benefit from this strong support."
The investment for St Neots has already seen plans progressed for a cycling and pedestrian footbridge to connect the town, an enhanced programme of events, retention of key town centre bus services, investment in the improvement of street furniture and a traffic study into how best to relieve congestion and improve high street access for pedestrians.
Next steps for the area include a fund to develop a Business Improvement District which supports local businesses to fund more active and vibrant town centres.