Work starts on £15m St Neots regeneration
Massive improvements to the centre of the market town of St Neots have begun, thanks in part to key funding from the Combined Authority.
The St Neots Town Centre Improvement Project will see the Huntingdonshire town’s historic Market Square transformed to create a more versatile, vibrant and people-friendly venue where cultural, community and visitor attractions come together in a new space for the town.
The makeover is supported by the Combined Authority’s ambitious Market Towns Programme to strengthen town centres and urban high streets across Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, and Fenland.
The Combined Authority has committed £3.1 million towards the Future High Street Fund project. This follows the Combined Authority’s previous investment of £1 million to support the production and implementation of the St Neots masterplan.
Support from Huntingdonshire District Council, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, Cambridgeshire County Council and National Highways jointly make up the rest of the total £15 million investment towards the project.
It is expected that on-the-ground work to improve Market Square and the High Street will continue until January 2025.
Cllr Sam Wakeford, executive councillor for jobs, economy, and housing at Huntingdonshire District Council, said: “We are excited that the construction phase of the town centre improvements project is now commencing, which is a significant milestone for St Neots.
“The project promises a more attractive, versatile and vibrant public space in the historic centre of the town.”
The Combined Authority’s contribution of £3.1m through the Future High Streets Improvement Project to St Neots was on top of £1m for St Neots to deliver the town masterplan. There is £260k remaining in progress the following high street improvement projects:
Public Art Programme. – £50k from the Combined Authority to fund a competition – managed by St Neots Town Council – to design and deliver new public art installations for the High Street and Market Square, with expected completion by March 2024.
New Stage & Entertainment Area within the Market Square. £110k from the Combined Authority – plus £100k from Huntingdonshire District Council – to support cultural events, attract more people to the town centre, and boost trade opportunity for shops and eateries. Completion by summer 2024 is the aim.
Digital Information Service & Wayfinding. £50k from the Combined Authority has been added to its existing £200k allocation to Huntingdonshire District Council through Market Towns Programme Phase1. Extending an existing project for the market towns of Ramsey, St Ives and Huntingdon, the funding now embraces St Neots.
The funding will provide digital information kiosks, linking to local business services, and physical wayfinding improvements to help visitors. Installation is planned by Summer 2024.
Shop-Frontage Grant Scheme – £50k to give landlords and retailers the opportunity to access grants for improving high street shopfronts. The launch is planned for around February this year.