Exciting future for Fens

PUBLISHED: 16:03 03 August 2007 | UPDATED: 22:58 28 May 2010

Fens Business Centre at Chatteris is full and a new centre is under consideration – Pic: Brian Purdy

Fens Business Centre at Chatteris is full and a new centre is under consideration - Pic: Brian Purdy

A BRIGHT future for Fenland s market towns - with science, leisure and education playing major roles - has been outlined to Fenland Councillors. The peep into the future was provided by Councillor Alan Melton, the council s open for business portfolio h

A BRIGHT future for Fenland's market towns - with science, leisure and education playing major roles - has been outlined to Fenland Councillors.

The peep into the future was provided by Councillor Alan Melton, the council's 'open for business' portfolio holder, who told fellow council members: "Fenland is on the move."

Responding to a question from Councillor John West, Cllr Melton laid out his personal thoughts about the district's four towns.

Development at Chatteris, he said, would be science based. The South Fens Business Centre on the edge of the town was already full and discussions were already under way for a second centre.

However, any scientific development would not be to the detriment of the town's existing traditional industries.

Whittlesey, founded on brickworks, had a great future, not as a Peterborough suburb, but for distribution and light manufacturing.

Wisbech was founded on its port which was now being developed for leisure with the multi-million-pound Nene Waterfront scheme. This was being backed up by the leisure and commercial development planned for the stadium site off Cromwell Road.

March was the geographical centre of Fenland. Huge investment was planned by the College of West Anglia and Neale-Wade Community College.

"It is important that March is allowed to grow around that investment," he said, adding that there was no reason the town could not develop as a centre of excellence.

And the development of both March and Wisbech could be helped by reopening the rail link between the two towns.

"We've moved on from Beeching," he declared, stressing the need for alternatives to the roads for both travel and the movement of goods - plus the need for a third river crossing in March.

The district's future could be further enhanced if Cambridgeshire County Council adopted a congestion charge scheme for the city of Cambridge.

Cllr Melton, this time responding to a question from Councillor Florence Newell about the effects this charge might have on Fenland, said that if such a scheme were to be adopted it was almost certain £240million would be injected into transport for the whole of the county.

That cash would certainly reach into Fenland and would "go a long way towards funding the infrastructure we have wanted for a long time".

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