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£80m spending pledge by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Improving bus stops is also a vital part of the £80m package of improvements

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Mayor Dr Nik Johnson will unveil an £80m pre-Christmas package of ‘new capital investment proposals’ that includes £3m to improve Whittlesey station and £7m to upgrade roads in March. There is also £3m for a footbridge across the A10 at Ely, and £500,000 to help ‘unlock’ a new rail station at Alconbury Weald.

Cambridge is not forgotten – with £1.5m to match fund plans to create a cultural quarter in the Market Square and Guildhall area of the city.

There will also be £9m to support climate change, and £2m will be spent on a facelift for Cambridgeshire’s bus stops.

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The ambitious programme is part of the 2024/25 corporate strategy budget and medium-term financial plan and goes before Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA) on November 29.

Board members will be told the proposals have been shaped by input throughout September, October, and November from officers and councillors from all councils across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough City Council.

A report to the board says the objective had been to “to identify high priority investment areas, which demonstrate strong fit with the strategic objectives of CAPCA and to match those needs to the funding available”.

Peterborough University, City Centre, Peterborough. Friday 06 October 2023. The university is a key investment objective of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. Picture by Terry Harris.

The report says: “The shared ambition of the Combined Authority area is significant, and this list of projects has been constrained by available resources.

“The Combined Authority will continue to lobby government for more investment into the area and, where this is successful, will update and increase the programme in response.”

Here is an outline of the spending plans:

1: Achieving Good Growth, Ambitious Skills, and Employment Opportunities

Strategic Growth Fund – £20m

To compensate local councils with investment into skills and economic capital since the end of the Local Growth Fund.

Up to £5m will be used to help develop infrastructure at the University of Peterborough.

Levelling Up – £10m

To match fund projects and expand the current market towns programme into “large non-market town settlements”.

Creative Industries – £3m

To support the Cambridge Leisure/Junction site south of Cambridge centre to help create a regional hub for creative industries, including space for start-ups, artists, and other creatives in one location that is not currently present in the south of the region.

Cambridge Cultural Quarter – £1.5m

Match funding to support the development of the Market Square and Guildhall in Cambridge into a new ‘Cultural Quarter’.

Improving Connectivity

A10 and A1139 Business Case development – each £3m

CAPCA says the Government has committed to funding the delivery of the upgrades of the A10 (Cambridge City to East Cambridgeshire) and the A1139 (Peterborough) in the Combined Authority area.

While the details of these commitments have not yet been confirmed, CAPCA is allocating funds “to ensure the work to develop the business case of these projects is progressed in the short-term to ensure release of the delivery funds when available”.

 A141 Business Case development – £3m

The A141 “provides a critical east-west transport link through Huntingdonshire”, says CAPCA.

“Within the district alone there are 4 significant development sites which relying on it directly, beyond the district is also provides a key access route to the Fens and its high-quality agricultural produce”.

The money will be earmarked for a “high quality strategic business case” to then seek funding for the major delivery work that will be needed on this route.

Footbridge across the A10 at the BP Roundabout – £3m

“The way cyclists and pedestrians have to cross the A10 crossing at Ely is completely unacceptable,” says petition organiser Sally Boor.

“The way cyclists and pedestrians have to cross the A10 crossing at Ely is completely unacceptable,” says Sally Boor who launched a footbridge petition.

CAPCA says their study shows that the A10 is a significant barrier to pedestrians and cyclists travelling between Witchford and Ely.

“Improving the routes for these users to navigate the roundabout close to the BP fuel station and Lancaster Way Business Park will enable safer journeys between the two,” it says.

“The study outlined two options to address the problem, a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists entirely bypassing the roundabout or a non-bridge option.

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“This funding allocation, on top of the existing £3m allocation transferred from the Active Travel Funding capital budget, will ensure that there is sufficient funding for whichever option is preferred.”

A16 Norwood – £6.5m

CAPCA says it commissioned the outline business case for the A16 Norwood project to unlock a 2,945-home development site.

£6.5m will include providing a footbridge to enable children to access the new secondary school unlocked in the development.

Whittlesea Railway Station – £3m

Whittlesea station

 

£3m will “reinstate investment” from CAPCA and improvements which will be considered include automation of the road gates, elongation of platforms, and provision of a footbridge to link the two platforms.

Alconbury Railway Station – £0.5m

Marshall has announced that it will be moving its land systems business, currently located on Newmarket Road in Cambridge, to a new bespoke 15,000 sqm facility at Alconbury Weald Campus by 2025.

Marshall has announced that it will be moving its land systems business, currently located on Newmarket Road in Cambridge, to a new bespoke 15,000 sqm facility at Alconbury Weald Campus by 2025.

Alconbury Weald is CAPCA’s largest Enterprise Zone site with up to 5,000 homes and 290,000 m2 of employment floorspace.

CAPCA says that “while it has strong road links through the A14 and A1(M) it cannot take advantage of the Great Northen rail line which forms its eastern border”.

The site’s developer has land allocated for a station which CAPCA is agreed should be built.

March Priority Junctions – £7m

Two junctions in March, at Twenty Foot Road and St Peters Road, have been identified as upgrade priorities to improve road safety, active travel opportunities and vehicle connectivity.

£7m will do the job.

Enabling Resilient Communities

Bus Stop Infrastructure – £2m

I am determined to deliver better bus services, particularly in our more rural areas.

Dr Nik Johnson: “I am determined to deliver better bus services, particularly in our more rural areas”CAPCA says many bus stops have suffered from underinvestment in the face of national cuts to maintenance budgets; £2m will enable additional upgrades “where they are most needed both within urban centres and rural areas”.

Funding for Active Travel schemes – £4.5m

CAPCA’s 2022-23 Medium-Term Financial Plan included £9m and since then £4.7m has been allocated to deliver local schemes, with a further £3m being utilised for the BP footbridge (in addition to the £3m additional funding in the proposal above).

“From discussion with constituent councils it is clear that there is a need for further funding,” says CAPCA.

It proposes to top-up the fund with an additional £4.5m and exten

d it to the end of the new MTFP period.

Road Safety Fund – £1m

The money will be used for road safety initiatives and contribute to reducing casualties from road traffic accidents as part of the Vision Zero Partnership.

In particular it is hoped to support all communities who wish to develop a 20mph zone through their community.

“The chances of being fatally injured in a car collision with a pedestrian increases more than 5-fold when a car is travelling at 30mph compared to 20mph,” says the CAPCA report.

Climate – £9m

Using a Climate Action Plan, it agreed in 2022, CAPCA says the fund will be used for understanding the economic impact of, and exploring innovative solutions for, drought damaged roads in the Fens and Peterborough.

It will also help councils with new requirements regarding biodiversity and decarbonisation of public sector buildings.

 

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