Wisbech 2020 18 month progress report published painting promising picture for the town

Wisbech Nene Waterfront. Picture: Steve Williams.

Wisbech Nene Waterfront. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

An 18 month progress report for the Wisbech 2020 Vision, which aims to revitalise the town, has been published.

 Tesco Wisbech Key Handover. left: Steve Harriman (Site Manager), Kevin Chestnut (Store Manager)

Tesco Wisbech Key Handover. left: Steve Harriman (Site Manager), Kevin Chestnut (Store Manager) - Credit: Archant

The 34-page Progress Update outlines what has been done to tackle the 29-point Action Plan, which highlights issues including the A47, Wisbech-March rail link, arts initiatives, dilapidated buildings and development.

Constantine House Wisbech.

Constantine House Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

In the past 18 months, a shopping and entertainment complex has been opened at Cromwell Park, a “My Loyalty Card” scheme introduced to help boost local shops and Wisbech has been named as one of the first 29 towns to gain support from the national Healthy High Streets campaign.

The Queen Mary Centre.

The Queen Mary Centre. - Credit: Archant

But the report also revealed 809 children in the Wisbech area who are entitled to free schools meals are missing out on them.

Councillor John Clark, leader of Fenland District Council, said: “We all know that Wisbech 2020 is a long-term project but it is clear that it has already achieved a lot.


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“Crucially, it has focused attention, both locally and nationally, on some of the key issues facing Wisbech and Fenland as a whole.

“And it has succeeded in bringing together many different organisations – public, private and voluntary – to tackle them.

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“Much, of course, remains to be done. We are continuing to work hard with all our Vision partners and will be planning the next steps when we meet together for the Summit in a few months’ time.”

Councillor Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “I am delighted with the progress made so far on this crucial, wide-ranging and ambitious programme for Wisbech and the Fenland area.

“I am particularly proud that our lobbying – with Stephen Barclay MP and Fenland District Council – for the Wisbech-March railway line and linking it to the national rail network has had its case strengthened by the completion of initial viability studies.”

SIGNS OF PROGRESS

A notice has been served on the owner of Constantine House ordering him to bring it back into use, with work to be completed by September 2014 or further enforcement action taken.

A £2 million Heritage Lottery Fund bid is being prepared to tackle dilapidated buildings in the High Street.

A new bus service is being introduced as part of an agreement being drawn up with Tesco to help improve infrastructure.

A bid has been made to the Department of Transport’s Local Sustainable Travel Fund for money to improve bus, walking and cycling facilities.

A £7.2 million Technology Centre has opened at the College of West Anglia Isle campus, with a further £6 million new-build programme starting this summer.

A sale has been agreed for the old gasworks site on the Nene Waterfront, with 70 housing units planned, including 24 affordable homes.

Eighty-eight new homes have been approved and are in the process of being built.

Operation Pheasant, a multi-agency operation tackling rogue landlords and gangmasters and improving living conditions in overcrowded housing, has received national recognition.

St Peter’s Lodge is now up and running as a studio for artists and there have been several successful bids for external funding to promote local projects.

The Ferry Project has secured a five-year extension to its lease to help it secure funding to develop Queen Mary Centre as a community centre, with work also continuing to improve the use of community facilities in Waterlees and develop more activities for young people.

The full Progress Update can be seen at www.wisbech2020vision.co.uk

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