Wisbech, March, Gorefield and Christchurch all get a share of big hand-outs from Cambridgeshire County Council community ‘pot’

All systems for Wisbech Market Place after the county council pledges £150,000 for enhancements. Pic

All systems for Wisbech Market Place after the county council pledges £150,000 for enhancements. Picture; WISBECH TOWN COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Fenland is getting a slice of county council money that will benefit Wisbech Market Place, a village community centre and West End Park, March.

The biggest slice of a £3m county wide pot agreed for Fenland, will be £150,000 for Market Place enhancements in Wisbech.

There will also be £15,000 for outdoor equipment for Christchurch Community Centre.

And £198,000 was offered to extend the community hall in Gorefield whilst £75,000 was pledged for improvements to West End Park, March

A total of 16 initiatives across the county will receive funding in the latest round of applications agreed by the council’s community and partnership committee.

The money is coming from Cambridgeshire Communities Capital Fund that was launched in April and sets aside up to £5m to support community projects.

Its objective is to support community-led projects to improve health, wellbeing, social and economic opportunities.

Most Read

Just over £4m will have been allocated in total – nearly £3m of that by this week’s committee.

Cllr Steve Criswell, chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s communities and partnership committee, said: “I am delighted that the committee has approved grants for these vital and deserving schemes.

“I hope the money will make a considerable difference to the excellent projects which the communities of Cambridgeshire are delivering for the benefit of their residents.”

Wisbech town council says one of the key aspects to their project is to develop a pedestrianised zone (operating between 7.00 am and 4.00 pm within the Market Place area).

It will also mean the prohibition of car parking on the Market Place and there will be new seating and waste bins, re-paving, decorative water features, plus a feature to attract the public to want to spend time in that space.

Town council leader Sam Hoy said: “By bringing people together, whether it be for retail activity or community activity, the Market Place plays an important role in improving community cohesion/integration and people’s wellbeing and mental health.

“Making Wisbech Market Place a more inviting and welcoming place for people to spend time will bring many benefits to the community.”

She said: “Councillor Andrew Lynn, chairman of the Market Place committee, has been the lead on this project alongside Terry Jordan, town clerk.

“They have worked incredibly hard to ensure the market place renovation planning was creative, thoroughly thought out and allow customers, traders and businesses to all benefit”.

She added that the only stumbling block has been access to funding “which winning this bid had now addressed”

Councillors who approved the bids were told that Gorefield village hall was originally built in 2013, but has rapidly outgrown the space available due to demand from community groups to use the building.

The project will see an additional room created, which will allow for multiple community activities to take place at the same time.

“The village hall helps to impact on skills, loneliness and obesity, as well as wider health and wellbeing outcomes,” says a report to councillors.

“In addition to the extra meeting space, the project will also provide a separate bar/lounge area that sports users can enjoy alongside community bookings such as weddings, christenings and parties.”

One of the benefits to expanding the facilities will be the increased capacity for the local youth club. Match funding of £60,000 is available to support the build costs.

Fenland District Council won £75,000 to improve four sections of West End Park, March.

Included will be improvements to the route surface for March Park Run which currently has 100+ participants weekly, with a new junior run to follow. This will create a hard surface for low-lying parts of the route (wood edging, chippings/tarmac) to safeguard events in wet conditions, which has often led to cancellation in the past.

It will also mean the creation of a permanent tarmac path from the park entrance to the bandstand.

The money is coming from the Cambridgeshire Communities Capital Fund was launched on 1 April 2020, and sets aside up to £5m to support community projects across the county. The fund is also to support projects to improve health, social and economic opportunities.”