New Fenland Council committee says area needs renaissance for economy to grow

PUBLISHED: 15:15 23 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:37 02 June 2010

two untidy shop fronts in High St Wisbech have been painted

two untidy shop fronts in High St Wisbech have been painted

A RENAISSANCE is needed in Fenland if its economy is to grow. That was the view of those in charge of the area s future, who are trying to woo home builders and businesses with what Fenland has to offer. Their thoughts were aired during discussions about

A RENAISSANCE is needed in Fenland if its economy is to grow.

That was the view of those in charge of the area's future, who are trying to woo home builders and businesses with what Fenland has to offer.

Their thoughts were aired during discussions about the future of planning in Fenland at a meeting of Fenland District Council's newly-formed overview and scrutiny policy panel on Monday.

In the short term, dilapidated shop fronts will be spruced up to smarten the area's appearance.

But planners say that, in the long run, Fenland's towns will have to become carbon neutral if they are ever to be part of a green technology boom.

Gary Garford, the council's director of business and infrastructure, said the vision was about "making Fenland more attractive".

Mr Garford said: "If we become carbon neutral it can become one of our main selling points.

"It could help us to develop as a green technology area for the future."

Councillors were told there was a need for more and more housing developments, as well as fledging companies to create jobs.

They were also reminded of some major developments in the pipeline, including the chance of a new Wetherspoon's in Whittlesey and a night shelter project in Wisbech.

Fingers are also crossed that Commercial Utility Brokers, a company that gives energy efficiency advice to firms, will expand in March. If it does, it could bring 60 high-skilled jobs to the district.

Chairing the discussion, Councillor Jan French said news of Commercial Utility Brokers was "not before time".

However, she worried that a 35 per cent target for affordable homes in developments might not be realistic in this current climate.

Concerns were also raised that promises made by developers to build new schools and infrastructure would never materialise.

Nigel Brown, the council's development services manager, said it was important to improve the planning system ready for a future economic recovery.

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