Multi-million pound investment into Fenland includes construction training incubator for Wisbech, manufacturing hub in Chatteris, skills centre at March and 40 affordable homes for Manea

PUBLISHED: 17:29 04 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:29 04 February 2020

Brickwork students from the College of West Anglia in Wisbech helped the Hickathrift House Care Home to remove and replace a damaged flowerbed as part of a building community project. Picture: GRACE JONES

Brickwork students from the College of West Anglia in Wisbech helped the Hickathrift House Care Home to remove and replace a damaged flowerbed as part of a building community project. Picture: GRACE JONES

Archant

A multi-million pound investment into Fenland will include a construction training incubator for Wisbech, a £3.1m manufacturing hub in Chatteris, a £400,000 skills centre in March and 40 affordable homes at Manea.

17 units are to let at the South Fens business centre, Chatteris, owned by Fenland Council.17 units are to let at the South Fens business centre, Chatteris, owned by Fenland Council.

Fenland District Council leaders have welcomed the investment boost from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) which they say will bring jobs, economic growth and much-needed new homes to the area.

The investment includes a £7.5m commitment to "stimulate local business productivity and invest in skills training, as well as £1.3m for the development of up to 40 new homes" said a council spokesman.

The Board of the Mayoral Combined Authority agreed funding for key projects at its meeting this week, when approval was also given to Fenland's four 'Growing Fenland' Masterplans for Chatteris, March, Whittlesey and Wisbech.

Metro Mayor James Palmer said: "I'm proud that the Mayoral Combined Authority I lead is reversing the long decades of under investment in our Fenland towns.

"I'm determined that nobody should be left behind and our masterplans for growth are all about ensuring these communities share the economic success we're building across the whole region - and have a real say in how their unique and historic towns evolve to embrace new opportunity."

Created as part of the CPCA's Market Town Masterplans for Growth programme, the regeneration plans were developed by Fenland District Council with representatives from local authorities, businesses, schools and the community in each of the towns.

The plans will now be used to bid for a share of £5m funding by the CPCA to implement market town plans across Cambridgeshire.

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Investments agreed by the board for Fenland include:

- £3m from the Local Growth Fund for a construction training/incubator in Wisbech - a new facility on the College of West Anglia site to facilitate construction skills around modern methods of construction.

- £3.1m from the Local Growth Fund to create a manufacturing launchpad in Chatteris.

- £997,032 from the Local Growth Fund to develop new business space at Fenland District Council's South Fens Business Centre in Chatteris.

- £400,000 from the Local Growth Fund to develop skills facilities at March Community Centre.

- £1.3m from the Affordable Housing Programme (non-grant) to acquire a residential development site in Manea for up to 40 new homes, possibly including eleven affordable homes.

Cllr Chris Boden, leader of Fenland District Council, said: "The investment will help our businesses to thrive, give our people the skills they need and generate new jobs, while paving the way for attracting further investment.

"It will also enable the construction of quality new homes which might otherwise not have been developed; helping to support Fenland's housing growth objectives."

Cllr Ian Benney, the council's portfolio holder for economic growth, said: "It's great to see the CPCA inject regional growth investment into some of Fenland's key economic projects.

"It's exciting news for the district as it will provide local people with new skills training opportunities and give firms the support they need to scale up, become more productive and increase their local and global reach."


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