In a move which will help Cambridgeshire’s historic market towns ‘get fit for the future’ and punch their weight in the Covid world, Mayor James Palmer tomorrow asks the Board of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority to approve funding applications from Huntingdon, Ramsey and St Ives.
Eleven market towns across the Combined Authority of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough are in the process of bidding for shares in £13.1 million to help them build the future they want – and the Huntingdonshire towns are first in line.
Their applications request the Board to draw down £300,000 – from the £3 million the three towns could ultimately share between them - to engage specialist advice in developing business and investment cases for Huntingdon, St Ives and Ramsay so the towns can make further bids to the Mayoral Combined Authority, and also for government funding.
St Ives is also asking for the Mayoral Combined Authority to give £42,400 for the installation of four footfall counters for the town. These would collect data to support investment cases for wider development plans.
If granted, awards for the Huntingdonshire towns will be put to work immediately. Funds given must be spent at the latest by 31 March 2022 - and deliverability is a key factor in appraising project proposals
All the market town proposals show how the community will support Covid-19 recovery, reflecting new patterns of homeworking, use of public transport, active travel, the workplace, community space, and High Streets. Assessors are looking for improved transport connectivity, including cycleways and footpaths.
The Market Towns Programme means each town has an approved Masterplan, funded by the Mayoral Combined Authority, that details its own priority projects. It plays a central part in the target for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area to double its gross value added (GVA) over the next two decades.
Combined Authority investment – which could be up to a million pounds for the right market town proposal or mix of proposals - will mobilise Masterplan projects to drive targeted growth and regeneration and perhaps attract more funding, from government and the private sector.
James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough:
“This is about getting our unique market towns fit for the future. They are crucial to the whole region as social and economic hubs and the Combined Authority is committed to helping each prosper, taking their surrounding communities forward with them.
“More people live in our market towns than in our cities. They are Cambridgeshire’s backbone – and they should be its powerhouse too. They’ve already got a fantastic history and I want them to have a fantastic future. That means investment and that’s what the Combined Authority is putting in, along with the road and rail infrastructure that joins up, links in, and levels up.”
“It’s about turning dreams into reality. The Masterplans pinpoint what our towns need most and reveal huge opportunities for sustainable growth, better transport, improved accessibility and more skills training. I hope that each market town will secure a good slice of the funding available and the Town teams and districts will partner ever more closely with the Mayoral Combined Authority to help create the communities they want for themselves.”