Ensuring support for the development of thriving Market Towns is a key priority for the Combined Authority. This commitment is certainly evident in St Neots with the continuing focus of the St Neots Masterplan looking at a range of improvements that will positively develop the growing Market Town
The masterplan project was developed by the board of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to ensure that the market towns in Cambridgeshire are all interconnected in an overall plan that supports the region’s future prosperity. The Masterplan for St Neots is the first of a series to be commissioned by the Combined Authority. The root focus is to help determine how best to maximise regeneration and reinvigoration of the key market towns in Cambridgeshire; maximising their potential as vibrant places to live, work and relax.
The Combined Authority is the strategic and funding partner for the masterplan, with Huntingdonshire District Council responsible for implementation. There are then a number of organisations, groups and specialists represented on the steering committee.
The Steering Group is very much a partnership – made up of contributors from the public, private and community sectors who meet regularly; initially building a programme of engagement, evidence gathering, and idea generation to scope the ambitions of the town. The overall focus now is on agreeing investments that will transform and better serve the community and business needs of the town.
FSB were pleased to see a new dedicated bike parking facilities in the town take their place in September; installed as part of a series of planned town centre improvements. St Neots Town Council worked collaboratively as part of the St Neots Masterplan for Growth to commission two new dedicated cycle racks providing convenient, town centre parking for cyclists, which hadn’t been available previously.
They positioned the racks in front of the Market Square, right in the heart of the town. Designed and manufactured by Cyclehoop, the Bike Ports are an inventive piece of street furniture that provides clear, highly visible cycle parking for up to eight bikes. The eye-catching product is visible at a distance, and helps to send a clear message about the importance of space for bicycles too.
They also installed raised planters alongside the bike racks - designed to contain bee friendly plants to encourage pollinators moving forward.
Longer term parts of the Masterplan include improvements to skills, employment opportunities and looking at options for providing improved community, leisure and commercial opportunities on the riverfront and in the town centre. Improved transport and digital links are also targeted in the plan. This includes works to improve and widen footpaths and cycle routes through Riverside Park – and the work is planned to coincide with the development of the new foot and cycle bridge. Construction for the new bridge is likely to begin in late spring 2020, subject to final planning approval.