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Garden Town

The idea of a "Wisbech Garden Town" was proposed in 2016, four years on from the launch of the Wisbech 2020 Vision.

This "Big Idea" is seen as having the potential to bring 10,000-12,000 new homes into the area. This would be together with better transport links, more jobs and improved health, education and skills training for local people. 

It is hoped that the high levels of deprivation in the area will be reversed through housing growth and a better economy.

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, was supportive of the concept when he paid a special visit to Wisbech to discuss it in March 2016.

What is a "Garden Town"?

The idea differs from earlier "garden cities." It looks to extend an existing town rather than creating an entirely new city from scratch (such as Milton Keynes).

In Wisbech it would involve additional building around areas that are already earmarked for development under the Fenland Local Plan. pdf icon View map. [1Mb]

Benefits

The main potential benefits for local people would include:

  • New and affordable homes, with the opportunity to self build
  • A new "Smart life" Modern Methods Construction college, giving greater educational opportunities in skills needed locally
  • An improved town centre as businesses and investment are attracted into the area
  • Improved rail and road transport links (such as a Wisbech-Cambridge rail link and A47 improvements)
  • New schools and more healthcare provision to support the larger population

Progress

In June 2017, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority provided £6.5 million in funding to progress the garden town to the next stage of development. This funding will be used to see if the idea is viable and will investigate feasibility issues such as flood risk, transport issues and land acquisition. It is anticipated the feasibility studies will take two years to complete. 

The bid includes £3.2 million to carry out the next stage of the Wisbech Rail study. It is anticipated that the reopening of the rail link would significantly improve connectivity and would unlock other economic benefits. 

Key stakeholders and the community will be engaged to help inform and shape the proposals throughout these exciting and ambitious plans for Wisbech.