£3bn is on the Horizon
INFRASTRUCTURE investment of £3.1billion will be delivered in the Cambridge sub-region in the next nine years, the Government has promised. Despite a guarantee that transport, health, education, water, leisure and other facilities for the occupants of nea
INFRASTRUCTURE investment of £3.1billion will be delivered in the Cambridge sub-region in the next nine years, the Government has promised.
Despite a guarantee that transport, health, education, water, leisure and other facilities for the occupants of nearly 50,000 new homes would be in place by 2016, Local Government Minister Baroness Andrews admitted Whitehall would not be signing all the cheques.
Her comments came during the annual conference of Cambridgeshire Horizons, the company set up by the county council, the county's five district authorities and other public bodies to deliver the homes and supporting social infrastructure.
"The necessary infrastructure will be there to support and sustain the communities," she said. "Part of the success of Cambridgeshire Horizons is tapping into that."
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Horizons' chairman Sir David Trippier said more than a third of the homes promised for 2016 had been built. In the year to March 2006, 29 per cent had been "affordable", against a 40 per cent target. This was a key issue for most of Fenland, which was outside the sub-region, although Chatteris was within it.
Councillor Alan Melton made a plea for the rest of the district, particularly March and Wisbech, to be included, underpinning a planning requirement for 40 per cent affordable homes in major developments.
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Lady Andrews replied: "Growth is not confined to the sub-region, and I'm sure Ministers will listen very closely. There's an absolute need to ensure rural areas are not excluded from the benefits of growth
"I'm well aware this is a diverse region. Places such as Huntingdon, Chatteris and Ely all have a relationship with Cambridge, but all exist in their own right.
"We see Cambridge as a flagship and the region at the leading edge of what is possible."
Sir David said: "It is abundantly clear we would not be able to achieve our objectives without the support and the significant developments that have and will take place in Huntingdonshire, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire. These developments on the smaller sites and in the market towns are absolutely crucial."
The whole sub-region was one of the most important in the UK, he said, "regenerating itself, constantly raising its profile as a centre of learning excellence, research and technology transfer, a sub-region supremely well placed to benefit from the knowledge-based industries likely to create the greatest levels of wealth and employment in the first part of this century".