FENLANDER: New Wisbech 2020 Vision website launched in joint bid to help revive town’s fortunes

WORK is under way to take forward the ambitious plans for the regeneration of Wisbech that were set in motion earlier this year.

The “Wisbech 2020 Vision” is a bold initiative that was announced at the end of March by the leaders of Fenland District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council and Stephen Barclay, MP for NE Cambs.

It is a long-term project designed to bring everyone in the community together to tackle the town’s many economic and social challenges. It is now in its early stages of development.

Its aims and the timetable for the preliminary work to be undertaken over the next few months are set out on a new website, www.wisbech2020vision.co.uk that was launched this week.

Those behind the vision are keen to involve everyone who feels they have a part to play in helping to create a prosperous future for the town and its surrounding area.

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Writing on the new website, Councillor Alan Melton, FDC’s leader, says the future success of Wisbech is vital for the future prosperity of Fenland as a whole.

He said: “What is needed now is to create a new partnership that includes not only central and local government, private business, schools and colleges but also all the countless individuals who simply want to improve the lives of themselves and their families.”

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Councillor Nick Clarke, county council leader, says the Vision “is about capitalising on the passion of the people of Wisbech”.

He also said: “It does not belong to me or Alan Melton or Stephen Barclay and it will not be created by us. It will be a vision created within the community and shared by the community.”

The new website invites people to comment on all aspects of the vision via ShapeYourPlace. It also lists some of the schemes that are already taking shape, including the new technology centre being built at the College of West Anglia’s Isle Campus, the plans for a new horticultural skills centre at Delamore and a joint heritage project involving the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum, FDC and the National Trust.

Between now and October a series of workshops will be held to begin exploring the Vision’s eight key themes in detail. They are:

• The future economic role of the town

• Stronger families and communities

• Housing

• Education, skills and aspiration levels

• Social cohesion

• Transport and infrastructure

• Leisure, culture, cycling and tourism

Feedback from those workshops will be presented at a Vision Summit at the end of October. Detailed recommendations will then be drawn up to form an agreed programme that will be formally launched in January 2013.

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