Huntingdon and Ramsey town centres are the recipients of new solar bench street furniture in the next installation of the District Council’s Accelerated Programme.

A few weeks removed from the first pilot Parklet being installed on the Great Whyte, Ramsey, solar benches are being installed on the high streets of both Huntingdon and Ramsey, offering revamped seating with digital infrastructure in the form of free street Wi-Fi and device charging capabilities.

These state-of-the-art benches work on clean solar energy and offer the additional user benefits as well as providing new places for residents and visitors to relax and take in what each town high street has to offer. The new street furniture will also provide an enhanced visual impact to sites, in addition to creating new and innovative spaces to dwell and socialise.

Executive Councillor for Recovery, Cllr Steve Criswell, said: "We are utilising funding to provide effective and exciting changes to our high streets as part of our Accelerated Projects Programme. We are now pushing forward and beginning to roll out more of these projects, following on from the first Parklet being installed in Ramsey, this fit-for-the-future street furniture offers something that we have not previously seen in our market towns.

"We are working to create a safer social space for people in the COVID-19 recovery period, while creating an enhanced sense of place within each town of the district and facilitating greater numbers of visitors to dwell for longer. The Accelerated Projects Programme is ambitious and wide-ranging with solar benches coming into Ramsey and Huntingdon, we have even more projects coming down the line soon to go along with these positive impacts we are having for residents in our towns."

Executive Councillor for Operations and Environment, Cllr Marge Beuttell, said: "While exploring options to enhance the offering for residents and visitors across Huntingdonshire’s market towns, it was key for us to tie in our objectives for the use of clean energy and supporting the local environment. We are able to offer state-of-the-art street furniture that will make a big impact locally, utilising renewable solar energy and laying the foundations for a stronger future."

New street furniture, through the installation of solar benches forms part of the wider Accelerated Programme of projects that will collectively enhance the resident and visitor experience of market towns.

This project, along with Parklets and the Town Walks App, forms part of the District Council’s Accelerated Project programme, funded through the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Market Towns Programme as part of a £3 million commitment of direct investment into Huntingdon, St Ives and Ramsey. To date, the Accelerated Projects programme has been awarded over £1.26 million of Combined Authority grant funding.