Overwhelming response for riverside homes

PUBLISHED: 09:27 30 January 2007 | UPDATED: 19:56 01 June 2010

Colin Fitzsimons, Taylor Woodrow lans manager (left), and one of the  visitors

Colin Fitzsimons, Taylor Woodrow lans manager (left), and one of the visitors

FIFTY people hoped there and then to buy one of the riverside homes - and one restaurateur and his wife even turned up with their plans for a ground floor restaurant. Such was the enthusiasm for the first public exhibition - exclusively previewed last wee

Chris Bowers, Project Managers...MACE

FIFTY people hoped there and then to buy one of the riverside homes - and one restaurateur and his wife even turned up with their plans for a ground floor restaurant.

Such was the enthusiasm for the first public exhibition - exclusively previewed last week by the Wisbech Standard - of the Nene Waterfront Regeneration project in Wisbech that attracted more than 600 people.

Geoffrey Harper, Leader of Fenland District Council, said: "The public response to the exhibition of the proposed development of this derelict area of Wisbech was truly overwhelming and wonderfully positive."

And not only did people want to put their names downs for the riverside homes, more than 20 businesses expressed interest in taking office space in the iconic Boathouse building that is to be built with £3.5m of public funding and boatowners expressed interest in mooring berths.

There were also inquiries about rental of retail space along the waterfront and in the Boathouse and for berths.

The star attraction was a large model depicting the 300-plus homes that make up the development proposal by Taylor Woodrow and the high definition computer generated images of the waterfront development .

The council's computer-generated fly-round of the Boathouse development also won over hearts and minds to the project. Work is set to start this summer on the Boathouse, with its 31 units for knowledge-based businesses, conference centre, yacht club and harbour office. The Boathouse is set to be completed by next summer.

The council conducted a questionnaire to measure public support for the project as a whole. More than 100 visitors completed the questionnaire and over 95 per cent of them said they liked the design concept and thought it would boost the economy of the town.

The huge regeneration project will transform 20 acres of derelict land in the heart of the town at a cost of around £47million.

Contractor Taylor Woodrow invited the public along to the exhibition at the new Axiom Foyer building in North Street to get a glimpse of what the future holds for their town.

Taylor Woodrow is preparing a detailed planning application for the development which will shortly go before Fenland District Council.

Work started on the ambitious scheme six years ago when the council commissioned a feasibility study for the site which had lain dormant for 20 years. The study was used to generate more than £10 million of public funding.

"It is almost too good for Wisbech," said visitor David Smith. Mr Smith of Mount Drive, Wisbech, worked for Dagless Boat Builders and has a special interest in the waterfront area.

He said: "The whole area has been allowed to get so run down, I think this will be good for the town if it gets the go-ahead."

The development will also signal an expansion of leisure marine facilities. It is hoped a new wet dock and boat lift facility will make Wisbech particularly attractive as a destination and base for yachts and power boats. There will be a slipway and workshops for repair and inspection of both leisure and commercial vessels.

There was some concern from visitors about traffic which currently uses Nene Parade as access to the port area. As part of the scheme traffic will be redirected to the port using Mount Pleasant Road. The route will be improved with new lighting and more off-street parking. Key junctions around the redevelopment sites will also be improved with traffic lights and pelican crossings.

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