Mayor opens new Visitor Centre in latest market town investment
Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson this week cut the ribbon on a dynamic new hub for visitors and businesses in the historic market town of Huntingdon.
Huntingdon’s first ever Visitor Centre is one of several initiatives across Huntingdon and St Ives funded by the Combined Authority. They aim to deliver major improvements in the transport network, town-centre environment, and to give local businesses a boost as well as supporting growth in the visitor-based economy.
The ‘Discover Huntingdon Visitor’s’ Centre’ is a new enterprise, housed within the Commemoration Hall in the High Street and it will showcase the market town and its shops and services – in addition to offering a base for visiting business people to liaise with Huntingdon First – Business Improvement District – staff.
It will also help Huntingdon to make the most of its heritage, leveraging interest in the town’s legacy and helping to promote the town as a historic destination on the tourist map and attracting visitor engagement.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson:
“Attracting businesses, sharpening the town profile, and building the visitor economy are crucial parts of boosting recovery in our market towns. This new Visitor Centre is the welcome result of a locally led creative partnership and I’m in no doubt it will have a positive impact on Huntingdon and the revitalisation of its high street.”
Huntingdon First BID will manage the centre and use it to help drum up more business for traders and service providers in and around Huntingdon. It will provide a rallying point for local companies and entrepreneurs, helping them to work together and access various forms of support when these become available.
Huntingdon First Town Manager, Paul Sweeney:
“My belief is that as a BID our role is to support local shops and businesses, drive footfall and extend dwell time. What I felt was missing, not just from Huntingdon but from most towns around the UK, was a heart right at the centre of our high streets in which to do that.”
The hub is expected to put fresh energy into the Huntingdon town centre economy, a dynamic presence to counter the aftermath of covid lockdowns and the consumer belt-tightening resulting from cost of living issues.
Huntingdon First worked hand-in-hand with Huntingdonshire District Council to secure £50k funding from the Combined Authority via the Market Towns Programme.
Huntingdon District Council lead for Jobs, Economy and Housing, Cllr Sam Wakeford:
“We are thrilled to see the grand opening of the new visitor centre in Huntingdon, a testament to our commitment to enhancing the town’s cultural and recreational offerings. The collaboration between the council, CPCA and Huntingdon BID has been instrumental in making this project a reality. This visitor centre, for which we helped secure funding, will serve as a focal point for the ongoing development of Huntingdon’s distinct character.”
The centre will be a venue where locals and visitors alike can find information on shops, services, attractions, walks and events, alongside heritage literature, maps, town guides, and gift-shop merchandise promoting Huntingdon.
The Commemoration Hall, a charity-run heritage building on the high street, offers the Visitors Centre a cost-effective opportunity to serve the town in a prime strategic location.