Full funding is now in place for improvements to the look and feel of St Neots town centre, including replacement and upgrade of bus shelters around the market square, signposts to help visitors, planters, bench seating, and new cycle racks.
With additional funds from Huntingdonshire District Council's Community Infrastructure Levy - CIL - there will be more green enhancements in more locations around St Neots to increase the town's 'beautilities', including new planters and bike parking in Moore’s Walk, and recycling bins in the Market Square and beyond.
The new bus shelters will be the same size and footprint as the existing structures and will be of classic minimalist ‘heritage’ design, black in colour, with pitched roofs. They should take a fortnight to install after delivery, expected in around six weeks’ time.
Led by Mayor James Palmer, the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority is the key funder for the St Neots Masterplan for Growth. It has committed £4.1 million to the project, which is a partnership between the Mayoral Combined Authority, the town, district, and county councils, the business community, and cultural organisations in St Neots.
The Masterplans for market towns across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough are priority projects in the Mayoral Combined Authority’s 2020-21 business plan, aimed to help these historic communities realise their potential, evolve in their own way, and flourish far into the future.
St Neots has been the trailblazer, with innovations from its Masterplan already taking shape on the ground.
Funding for phase 1 of the Masterplan was approved by the Mayoral Combined Authority board last summer. The aim is to create a greener, more attractive, joined-up and people-friendly town centre for residents and visitors. A new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the river will help unite areas of the town to make them more accessible for everyone. The location and design of the bridge, linking Regatta Park to Priory Lane, were chosen after public consultation.
Building work is due to start in May this year.
Last summer, St Neots received a further boost when it was selected as one of 50 towns to benefit from the £1 billion Future High Streets Fund, following a pitch led by Huntingdonshire District Council.
Alongside the Combined Authority’s £4.1 million commitment, an additional £1.7 million has been secured from partner Councils, making a total investment of £5.8 million in the town's development. This will be topped up further by cash won from the Future High Streets Fund.
With good road and rail links, the forthcoming A428 dualling, its prime situation in the East-West Rail corridor, and the CAM Metro route planned to include the town, St Neots has huge potential for cultural and commercial growth.
The Market Towns Masterplan programme has been developed by the Board of the Mayoral Combined Authority to ensure key market towns connect in an overall plan that supports their unique quality and helps them grow and share the region’s future prosperity. The Masterplans are about making sure the market towns grow in a way suitable and desirable for those who live there.