Waterfront's a big hit

PUBLISHED: 12:32 05 January 2007 | UPDATED: 22:28 28 May 2010

The impressive boathouse planned for the Nene Waterfront Regeneration project

The impressive boathouse planned for the Nene Waterfront Regeneration project

THE Nene Waterfront Regeneration (NWR) Project in Wisbech has been shortlisted for a prestigious national British Urban Regeneration Award. The multi-million pound plans to develop the 20-acre derelict waterfront site and transform the economic fortunes o

THE Nene Waterfront Regeneration (NWR) Project in Wisbech has been shortlisted for a prestigious national British Urban Regeneration Award.

The multi-million pound plans to develop the 20-acre derelict waterfront site and transform the economic fortunes of the town and Fenland as a whole, has excited the interest of the BURA judges.

The NWR project is on the shortlist in the Strategy and Master Planning category. This year more than 90 schemes were entered for 10 BURA awards. After visits and investigations from a BURA judge, the 90 schemes were whittled down to 40. The NWR project successfully crossed this first hurdle and, following a second visit from a different BURA judge, the scheme is now on the shortlist of about 25 schemes competing in the 10 categories.

Judges were impressed with the way Fenland District Council officers and councillors had the vision and commitment to take the bold decision to reverse more than 20 years of decline in the economic fortunes of the town by setting the famework for a regeneration scheme that would act as a catalyst for expanding the economic diversity of the town - and Fenland too.

The judges particularly liked the way the project set out to develop the potential of the River Nene and its water frontage to turn the town centre site into an exciting place to live, work and play.

The project started with a £20,000 feasibility study by Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design in 2003. Armed with a report on what could be achieved, Fenland Council teamed up with English Partnership and the European Regeneration Development Fund administered by Go-East, to develop the strategy and master planning necessary to turn the project into a viable reality.

The judges will meet this month to decide the winners but results will be made public for the first time at an award ceremony at the Imperial War Museum, Manchester, on March 21.

Councillor Geoffrey Harper, council leader, said "We are delighted that this flagship important project, which will dramatically improve the economic fortunes of Wisbech and Fenland as a whole, is being recognised nationally. We are up against some stiff opposition from large city regeneration projects so it is fantastic that we have impressed the judges sufficiently to be included on a shortlist for such a prestigious national award. The success of the Nene Waterfront Regeneration project so far has been a tribute to the vision and commitment of officers and councillors, who together have turned a dream into a reality.

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