Wisbech high street project in line for £2 million restoration boost

News: Fenland District Council, www.fenland.gov.uk

News: Fenland District Council, www.fenland.gov.uk

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A high street project in Wisbech is in line for a £2 million restoration boost.

Fenland District Council has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a £2 million Townscape Heritage bid for the Wisbech High Street project, it was announced today (Tuesday February 10).

The project aims to deliver the restoration of a number of buildings on Wisbech High Street and turn the former Cook’s Butchers site into an exciting new area of public space.

Development funding of around £108,000 is included in the initial award to help the council progress its plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

The first-round pass from the HLF is the culmination of a year’s work led by Fenland District Council alongside the Wisbech Society, Wisbech Town Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and more than 20 local stakeholders, overseen by consultants Ingham Pinnock Associates.

In addition, a high level of support has been provided by staff at English Heritage, which is also represented on the project team.

The competition for this round of Townscape Heritage grants was strong with only 13 of the 30 applications from all over the UK being successful. 

The HLF funding is to be matched with investment led by Fenland District Council, which is contributing £230,000, along with Cambridgeshire County Council (£200,000), the Wisbech Society (£25,000) and Wisbech Town Council (£25,000).

The project team will now spend the next year preparing a second round application to the HLF.

That will see the development of a more detailed proposal for the physical works and a series of projects designed to secure the active involvement of local businesses, colleges and community groups.

Councillor David Oliver, Fenland District Council’s cabinet member responsible for conservation and leader of Wisbech Town Council, said: ‘We are delighted to have secured this initial backing for the Wisbech High Street project.

“The area was identified in Wisbech 2020 as requiring investment and regeneration and this is a welcome first step in achieving this goal.”

Cllr John Clark, leader of the district council, said: “The project will help transform this vital area in the heart of Wisbech and that in turn will help raise the town’s profile and increase the potential for further investment.

“The support we’ve had from the consultation group and the local community has been a major factor in winning the HLF’s approval in the face of strong competition from schemes from across the whole country.”

Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, said: “This is great news for Fenland and marks another positive step forward in attracting investment into Wisbech.

“Derelict buildings blighted the town for too long and this, along with progress on Constantine House and new schemes like the Light Cinema and restaurants and the new College of West Anglia building, show the improvements being made.”