Following a £5 million bid to government as part of a proposed £12 million investment in St Neots, Huntingdonshire District Council has now requested to draw down £300,000 from the Combined Authority’s Towns Fund to progress similar investment and regeneration proposals for St Ives, Huntingdon and Ramsey.
This request follows the collation of some initial ideas into 'prospectuses for growth' for Huntingdon, St Ives and Ramsey earlier in the year. If agreed by the Combined Authority Board, the funds would be used by HDC to expand upon those plans and also develop new and wider-ranging schemes for each of the towns.
These schemes could include regeneration opportunities, residential and commercial space, expanding the business and visitor economy, enhancing the environment, and improving transport links. Viability and impact will be key factors for exploration as well as putting forward schemes that would attract external investment and boost our town centre economies.
If the request of the Combined Authority is successful, work would begin this year with initial work being progressed with stakeholder representatives from each of the towns and specific proposals then going on to wider public consultation and engagement once developed. Further bids to attract national and regional funding would then follow.
Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, Cllr Ryan Fuller, said: "To give Huntingdonshire’s towns the best chance of long-term success we need to consider each town's individual needs and put together a comprehensive plan for each of them that protects what makes them special but also acknowledges national economic and shopping/visitor trends, and helps them become fit for the future.
"Our experience from preparing the bid to government for St Neots shows that we need to look at the success of the whole of the town, ensure we have a firm evidence base and robust proposals that will help us make the best case for multi-million-pound investment. We're talking about more than simply sprucing up what we already have or replacing tired street furniture; we are aiming to deliver significant transformative regeneration schemes to help our towns adapt and thrive. Each of our market towns offers something different, we want to enhance their distinct identities and support their ongoing prosperity."