MP Steve Barclay hopes local leaders have learnt lessons so area can cash in on government funding

Steve Barclay MP

Steve Barclay MP - Credit: Archant

MP Steve Barclay hopes local leaders ‘have learnt lessons’ so transport schemes in this area do not miss out in the latest round of government funding.

He sees the latest allocation of £1.8 billion of government cash to Growth Deals as the perfect opportunity to get projects like Wisbech Rail back on track.

Mr Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, is urging ‘key players’ to get their act together so bids can be made for a slice of the cash which is available through the country’s 39 local enterprise partnerships.

Writing on his on-line blog Mr Barclay said: “A third major funding round has just been announced by the Government for local enterprise partnerships. This means potentially large sums of money for local transport schemes and business expansion.

“Yet to date most of the money awarded to the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership from the previous two rounds of funding has gone elsewhere in the county and not to North East Cambs.

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“I hope both Fenland and East Cambs district councils will now publish the schemes and amounts bid for via the LEP for this third round having learnt the lessons from the previous two rounds, and set out how this compares with the bids made by other districts. We cannot afford to miss out a third time.

“The LEP should also confirm, following their forthcoming board meeting, that funding for Wisbech Rail will be their largest application in this third round. After all, the Secretary of State for Local Government Greg Clark, who is administering this scheme and deciding on successful bids, has personally been to Wisbech recently to see the rail proposal and endorsed it. So how much more encouragement does Cambridgeshire LEP board need?”

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Projects in this area have missed out on previous funding opportunities because local authorities have not had all the necessary information available to make a strong case for schemes such as the dualling of the A47 between Thorney and Wisbech, or for Wisbech Rail.

Fenland also missed out on a major agri-tech centre when the cash was awarded to a rival scheme in East Cambridgeshire rather than to one at Chatteris.

Mr Barclay said: “This is a key opportunity for our area. If the Wisbech 2020 work is to remain meaningful, the LEP must secure major funding from this third round. I hope we will get urgent public statements for constituents from the relevant key players at the LEP and councils confirming this will be done, so that I can in turn lobby ministers directly based on strong local bids.”

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