MP hails Government boost for Wisbech Garden Town “a game changer” but he warns local leaders need to get their act together

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark MP on his visit to Wisbech two ye

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark MP on his visit to Wisbech two years ago. He fully supports the Wisbech Garden Town project. Speaking here with John Elworthy. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

MP Steve Barclay tonight welcomed the Government’s pledge to market globally a £2.5 billion investment opportunity for Wisbech that he described as a “game changer” for Fenland.

Government support for the Wisbech Garden Town scheme caught local councillors on the hop but the MP hopes the announcement will convert doubters and bring a new urgency to making it happen.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox revealed details of the Government backing by putting it in a list of UK investment projects worth more than £30 billion being offered to overseas investors.

Wisbech Garden Town is one of the biggest individual schemes to gain support in minister’s list of 68 UK wide projects; it is one of only three schemes from the whole of East Anglia to make the list.

“It is good to now have a fourth cabinet minister endorsing Wisbech rail and garden town,” said Mr Barclay.

I understand Dr Fox paid an unofficial visit to Wisbech two years ago to see at first hand the opportunities the town presents.

Mr Barclay said Dr Fox joins Greg Clark at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Chris Grayling at the Department for Transport and Sajid David, when at the Department for Communities and Local Government, who had all “recognised the huge potential of the Wisbech scheme”

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Mr Barclay said: “After years of fighting to get this regeneration opportunity taken seriously, including the local enterprise partnership that shamefully ignored it, hopefully local officials will now get fully on board and build on the support the government has shown.

“We need a much more ambitious timescale locally than is currently planned for the next phase of work, with a rail consultation that will not start until the autumn and then take a further 18 months to complete.”

He added: “The case for this scheme is compelling. We now need local leaders to speed up their action.

“This is a game changer for Fenland and offers Cambridgeshire as a whole a golden opportunity for jobs, housing and economic growth in the north of the county.”