Skip Navigation

Building a better future through Wisbech 2020

"Working together to attract investment and build a better future for everyone" was the message at a key event today (October 20) celebrating the Wisbech 2020 Vision.

Wisbech 2020 Summit 2017

More than 100 representatives from across public, private and voluntary sectors came together at the Wisbech 2020 Vision Summit to support what the community project has helped achieve so far and learn of its next steps.

Business and education leaders, local organisations, students and councillors were among the delegates at the event, which was held at the Thomas Clarkson Academy.

It gave a taste of some of the achievements the Vision has helped accomplish since it began five years ago, and looked ahead with a refreshed Wisbech 2020 Vision document focusing on tacking local issues and delivering future health, education and infrastructure improvements.

Speaking at the event, Fenland District Council leader John Clark said the Wisbech 2020 Vision was succeeding in getting everyone to work better together for the good of the town.

"Rather than thinking of the Wisbech 2020 Vision as a project plan or a nice glossy document, I like to think of it more as a change of culture. It's a new way of addressing some persistent problems. It's innovative thinking. It's collaborative working at its best," he said.

"We are all beavering away, doing the best we can with the resources we have, but sometimes we need to stop, look around, and see who else can help us, and vice versa. Thankfully, we have all started to work better together and we are having more of an impact than ever before."

He said working together through the Vision, partners have successfully attracted £1.9 million of Heritage Lottery funding to help regenerate Wisbech High Street, lobbied for infrastructure through the Infrastructure for Growth Campaign and tackled rogue landlords and gangmasters through the multi-agency Operation Pheasant work.

Other achievements include securing £736,000 of government funding for the Homelessness Trailblazer project to tackle homelessness in Wisbech and other towns across the whole of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority area.

A further £850,000 of funding has been secured through the government's Controlling Migration Fund to help relieve pressure on public services from migration, and £10.5 million is ready to draw down, following extensive business case work, from the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership for the Wisbech Access Study providing investment in key road junction improvements around Wisbech.

The Combined Authority has also provided the £6.5 million needed to fund feasibility work for the Wisbech Garden Town project, including funds to progress the next stage of the Wisbech Rail Study, and a £500,000 contribution towards developing a business case for dualling the A47.

Planned delivery of further homes in Wisbech, in addition to the Garden Town proposal, was given another boost by a £224,000 Capacity Funding grant from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Looking ahead, the Wisbech 2020 Vision project will now focus on four essential themes - educations and skills; health, wellbeing and cohesion; infrastructure and the built environment; and the local economy.

Members of the Wisbech 2020 Vision Steering Group told guests how extensive consultation had helped shaped the key themes, with presentations from headteacher Carrie Norman and pupils from Peckover Primary School; Dr Liz Robins (Director of Public Health at Cambridgeshire County Council); Graham Hughes, executive director of Cambridgeshire County Council; and Adrian Cannard, Strategy and Planning Director of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

There was also a presentation on the 12,000 home Wisbech Garden Town proposal, when it was announced that Wisbech would be piloting the worldwide debut of a revolutionary Dutch flood management scheme to help overcome the project's flood risks.

Peter Simpson, chief executive of Anglian Water, said the feasibility work with Dutch water experts, Royal HaskoningDHV, would help Fenland District Council, Anglian Water and other stakeholders to work collaboratively to create "a climate change resilient town of the future".

Jaap Flikweert, Director of Water Governance and Strategy for Royal HaskoningDHV, spoke about the project, and Matthijs Houët, Senior Commercial Attaché of the Royal Netherlands Embassy London, presented €55,000 on behalf of the Dutch government to the Wisbech 2020 Core Vision Group to assist with the work.

The event was concluded by Core Vision Group members Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire; Cllr Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council), Cllr John Clark and Cllr Sam Hoy, Leader of Wisbech Town Council.

Article added October 20, 2017