Following the success of the Shop Front Grant Scheme in Huntingdon and St Ives, the scheme has been extended to include St Neots and Ramsey. The scheme will launch in 2024. Town centre businesses can apply for grant funding to make improvements to their shop fronts, including making the unit more accessible for shoppers.
Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) has secured funding, from a range of sources, for an ambitious investment in St Neots town centre. This investment will transform the market town for the benefit of local people, businesses, and visitors.
What is the investment in St Neots?
The investment in St Neots High Street totals around £15 million and comes from a range of sources, including £3.7 million from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities' (DLUHC) Future High Streets Fund. St Neots is one of 72 towns across England to be awarded a FHSF grant.
Following the development of the St Neots Masterplan for Growth in 2018, the successful bid was submitted in 2020 to DLUHC. On top of this, further funding has been secured for investment in St Neots:
- National Highways (£3.5 million)
- Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority (£3.1 million)
- Huntingdonshire District Council Infrastructure Levy (£5.1 million).
The future of St Neots High Street
The Investment in St Neots programme has considered and developed options to help the town reach its potential, prepare for its future and address a range of key issues. St Neots is a popular, growing market town but the town centre is underperforming.
St Neots is the fastest-growing town in Cambridgeshire
St Neots has excellent intercity transport connections to both London and Cambridge and is located on the beautiful River Great Ouse, making it an attractive place to live, work and visit.
Despite its built heritage and setting, parts of the town centre lack appeal to visitors and residents and heavy traffic reduces the quality of experience
Businesses are unable to take advantage of the town's growth and advantageous connections as the centre cannot support destination retail and other leisure activities
The population is growing, but footfall in the town centre is declining
The town centre lacks vibrancy and is not seen as an attractive destination in terms of its cultural and leisure offer
The town struggles to compete with the challenge of online shopping
St Neots Town Centre retail employment, the largest town centre employment sector, has declined.
In response to these challenges, four overarching themes were identified, which led to the creation of specific objectives to deliver positive results for St Neots.