Plans to overhaul nine market towns across Cambridgeshire as combined authority bosses pledge almost half a million pounds to growth

Cllr Charles Roberts (left) and Mayor James Palmer (right) with copies of the first Market Town Mast

Cllr Charles Roberts (left) and Mayor James Palmer (right) with copies of the first Market Town Masterplan for St Neots - Credit: Archant

Combined Authority bosses have committed almost half a million pounds towards plans to bring jobs, infrastructure and more to nine market towns across Cambridgeshire - including Ely, March, Chatteris and Soham.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Board has approved £450,000 of funding to create nine more Masterplans for Growth that will enable its market towns to become ‘vibrant and thriving places’.

Leaders, communities and businesses will be able to identify what their towns need the most, bringing these ideas together into a single plan.

The masterplans will be developed over the next two years, with plans for Chatteris, March, Littleport, St Ives and Whittlesey being undertaken this year, and plans for Ramsey, Ely, Soham and Huntingdon being developed in 2019.

James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, hailed the plans saying that market towns were the ‘backbone of our county’.

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He said: “I’m delighted that after the early success of the St Neots Masterplan we’re able to announce the next five.

“Market Towns form the backbone of our county and I’m keen for the Combined Authority to work with them to set out their ambitions for the future.

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“I hope that progress is as swift with the other plans and that it’s not too long until people start to see results on the ground.”

Officials say the plans will mean that every market town in the county will have a ‘shared ambition for the future’.

Councillor Charles Roberts, deputy mayor for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “The importance of our market towns cannot be underestimated. This decision is a clear sign that we are committed to investing more money and attention to help these towns realise their full potential.

“We want to see more jobs created in and around these towns so that people can live and work in the same community, with vibrant town centres.”

A partnership team for each market town will be brought together by the District Council.

St Neots already has a masterplan in place, and the Combined Authority have committed £6.5m towards the Wisbech Garden Town feasibility study, as well as supporting the wider work of the Wisbech 2020 initiative to ensure all 11 Market Towns in the area have the appropriate level of support.

Work to is due to commence in April 2018, with all masterplans concluded by December 2019.

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