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Mayor gets go-ahead for market town £13m giveaway

Eleven Cambridgeshire market towns are being invited to bid for £13.1 million to help them build towards the future.
Whittlesey is one of the market towns which could apply. Photo: Google

The first funding applications for a share in the £13.1 million allocation are likely to go to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Board for approval from July 2020 onwards.

Funds awarded must be spent at the latest by March 31, 2022 - and deliverability will be a key factor in appraising project proposals. 

Pitches must also show how towns will support Covid-19 recovery, reflecting new patterns of homeworking, use of public transport, the workplace, community space, and High Streets.  Assessors will look for improved transport connectivity, including cycleways and footpaths. 

The Market Towns Programme, in which each town has a Masterplan detailing its own priority projects, plays a central part in the target for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough 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, said “It’s absolutely the right time to put money into these unique market towns and I’m delighted today’s decision means they can move forward to the bid stage. 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.

The Market Towns are Cambridgeshire’s backbone.  They’ve already got a fantastic history and I want them to have a fantastic future. That means investment and that’s exactly what the Combined Authority is putting in.” 

Masterplans for Fenland (March, Wisbech, Chatteris & Whittlesey) and Huntingdonshire (St Neots, St Ives, Huntingdon, & Ramsey) market towns have been completed and were approved the Combined Authority Board on January 29 2020 and by the Mayor in consultation with the Combined Authority Board on 25 March 2020.

The final report for East Cambridgeshire (Ely, Soham & Littleport) is due to go to the Combined Authority Board for approval on July 29.