FENLAND: Two schemes under threat after Government pulls plug on growth funding

PUBLISHED: 16:58 20 July 2009 | UPDATED: 09:10 02 June 2010

By John Elworthy TWO major schemes for Fenland face an uncertain future after the Government today dropped a funding bombshell. Council Leader Geoff Harper revealed that housing in Gaul Road, March, and a new road frontage by the River Nene in Wisbech cou

By John Elworthy

TWO major schemes for Fenland face an uncertain future after the Government today dropped a funding bombshell.

Council Leader Geoff Harper revealed that housing in Gaul Road, March, and a new road frontage by the River Nene in Wisbech could be in jeopardy.,

It followed the news, outlined to council chiefs from across Cambridgeshire that the Government had pulled the plug on a multi million pound pot to stimulate growth.

John Healey, the Minister for Housing, had told Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Jill Tuck that he was proposing to alter capital funding for growth from £13,772,524 to £7,794,623.

County councillor Geoff Harper, who is also leader of Fenland District Council, said it was now up to all local councils in Cambridgeshire "to fight for their corner for what's now on offer".

He said the Government cuts could have a major impact on Cambridgeshire's growth "and drives a torpedo through what we are trying to do".

He said it appeared parts of the country would still be getting funding "in areas of deprivation or areas of Labour core votes".

Cllr Harper said it was a double whammy delivered by the Government to Fenland following the recent axing of the £70 million proposed campus for the College of West Anglia in March.

Fenland District Council had bid for over £1 million under the growth funding, half to complete road works adjacent to the Nene Waterfront in Wisbech and the other half for new housing in Gaul Road, March.

Cllr Harper said the Wisbech project was particularly important since the money was earmarked to complete to the site of hundreds of new homes. Completion of the road works would make it more likely to secure a builder to complete the housing which forms part of a regeneration programme.

Neighbouring Norfolk has received a similar blow to its growth funding allocations, prompting the leader of West Norfolk Council Nick Daubney to claim "it is just one thing on top of another. The Government asks us to put forward proposals to grow and then takes the money away. You cannot plan, you just cannot plan anything.


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