Bold masterplan for Whittlesey includes re-locating market, major transport overhaul and new heritage centre

A new masterplan for Whittlesey has been published which includes re-locating the market, carrying out a huge overhaul of public transport services - including introducing a park and ride service to Peterborough - and building a new heritage centre.
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The bold plan has been submitted to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (the county’s mayoral body) as part of its Masterplan for Growth initiative to develop the district’s market towns.

The Whittlesey vision was put together by representatives from business, local government, schools and others and includes eight recommendations which will now be considered by the combined authority.

These include:

Market Square in WhittleseyMarket Square in Whittlesey
Market Square in Whittlesey
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. Consider re-locating the Friday market to the pedestrianised area of High Causeway to “increase footfall” before turning Market Place into a “piazza” with outdoor dining. The plan includes attracting more specialist markets, such as antiques fairs, farmers’ markets and fine food markets, possibly on Saturdays, while offering customers incentives to keep visiting and reaching out to local businesses to take part

. Developing an “annual programme of locally sourced events, including themed evenings and weekends” in the square order to add “vibrancy”

. Creating a heritage visitor centre to showcase the remarkable Bronze Age discoveries at nearby Must Farm, as well as the story of Whittlesey from its beginnings to the current day. A site directly adjacent to King’s Dyke Nature Reserve has been earmarked as a potential location

. Creating a new heritage walk which would include historic landmarks in the town

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. Identifying work placements/apprenticeship opportunities at local businesses and opportunities to re-train and up-skill adult workers.

A huge overhaul of transport has also been put forward in the masterplan. The proposals include:

. Bus franchising to introduce more - and more regular - services both in and out of the town and to and from the station

. More train services throughout the day and later in the evening

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. A new park and ride scheme from the town centre to Peterborough

. Pushing ahead with the bridge over the rail line at King’s Dyke

. A new relief road from Coates to the Morrisons/Cardea Roundabout in Peterborough so that Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) can access industrial sites from the east rather adding to the congestion of residential routes.

It is expected that funding for the proposals in the masterplan would largely come from the combined authority.

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The report highlighted several benefits of living in Whittlesey including the performance of the schools, the building of quality homes, ultra-fast broadband, a rich heritage and a “strong community spirit,”

However, a shortage of jobs, poor transport infrastructure and lack of entertainment were highlighted as weaknesses.

The report states: “The main aspects for improvement to emerge from resident feedback were the range of local shops, with calls for more specialised shops and large supermarket. Some residents also identified a need for additional amenities such as GP surgeries and a re-opened police station.”

The most popular suggestion from a list presented to residents was to improve the market, followed by improving access to educational opportunities and finding new uses for the square.

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The report concludes: “We have set out a vision for Whittlesey, showing what interventions can make a real difference to our town in the context of the overall strategy for Fenland.

“We now look forward to working constructively with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and its mayor, James Palmer, to implement these ideas.

“This will require both direct support from the combined authority and the resources needed to take these ideas to key government funds such as the Stronger Towns Fund as and when they come forward.”