Global investors to be sought by Government to find £2.5bn to make Wisbech Garden Town project a reality

Official portrait of Dr Liam Fox. PHOTO: Wiki

Official portrait of Dr Liam Fox. PHOTO: Wiki - Credit: Archant

The Government has chosen Wisbech Garden Town as one of 68 projects across the UK it will promote to attract overseas investors.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox is looking to find investors willing to pump up to £2.5 billion into bringing 10,000-12,000 homes to the area.

The investment would also use the private sector to improve infrastructure including the Wisbech-Cambridge rail link and A47 upgrades.

Mayor James Palmer provided £6.5 million last year to test viability and feasibility.

Now Dr Fox will promote the garden town as one of three projects from across the East of England that he feels will attract global investors.

The idea of a ‘Wisbech Garden Town’ was proposed in 2016, four years on from the launch of the Wisbech 2020 Vision.

Fenland Council believes that high levels of deprivation in the area will be reversed through housing growth and a better economy.

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Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, was supportive of the concept when he visited Wisbech to discuss it in March 2016.

Two years later the Government has hardened its support with Dr Fox embracing the garden town concept for Wisbech as part of his drive to attract foreign investment into the UK.

He outlined his proposals at a meeting of the Board of Trade in Scotland.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) will now promote all 68 UK investment projects worth more than £30 billion to overseas investors.

Other local projects include Nelson Quay, King’s Lynn, that is looking for £120 million and CAMRO at Ely – a high tec enterprise – requires £800 million.

Dr Fox, International Trade Secretary and President of the Board of Trade said: “This is a bold and ambitious programme, building on the UK’s position as the leading destination for foreign investment in Europe through the government’s Industrial Strategy, helping to build a Britain fit for the future.”

He added: “With more than £30 billion worth of new opportunities, my international economic department’s overseas network is working hard to attract top investors to the UK.”

He said the DTI works directly with companies in 177 cities in 108 countries around the world and last year helped attract 2,265 investment projects which created or safeguarded 108,000 jobs in the UK.

The 68 projects worth more than £30 billion, with more to be added over the coming months, will also be promoted through a revamped online one stop shop for potential investors:

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

“The UK has a strong standing when it comes to attracting investment to these shores. That investment leads to real, tangible benefits for people and communities – more jobs, prosperity and choice.

“The new online catalogue of British projects for global investors to find and research will also be a vital tool to attracting even more capital to the UK, enabling the benefits of free trade and investment to flow into our communities.”