Town council face rise in costs for Market Place enhancements

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech - Credit: Wisbech Tweet

Costs for the long awaited pedestrianisation and enhancement of Wisbech town centre have risen to £434,000. 

With work beginning on Tuesday (April 19) a confidential session of town councillors will meet to discuss one further item on the bill.  

The councillors will consider the quotation from Cambridgeshire County Council in relation to the costs of implementing new traffic management arrangements.  

An original overall budget of £400,000 included £150,000 from the county council’s communities capital fund.  

And £200,000 came from the ‘growing Fenland’ scheme run by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.  

The town council expected to provide the remaining £50,000 from reserves. 

Now the council will plunge deeper into reserves to meet the expected shortfall.  

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Town clerk Terry Jordan explained to councillors that county council highways work would involve street lining, installation of gates and highway signage.  

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech - Credit: Wisbech Tweet

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech - Credit: Wisbech Tweet

It is that quote which the confidential session will address. 

NB Construction of Tilney has won the contract to supply and instal paving, lighting, a granite feature, street furniture, digital notice board and water bottle filling station.  

KBS Depot of Northwold will supply benches, planters, bollards and waste bins.  

And L W Bespoke Fabrications Ltd of Wisbech will build the gate that will installed by the county highways. 

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech - Credit: Wisbech Tweet

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech - Credit: Wisbech Tweet

The town council in recent months had been forced to scale back some of their original proposals because of the rising costs.  

“This has included removal from the scheme of the proposed water feature and changes to the proposed surfacing materials,” records council minutes from February. 

Town clerk Terry Jordan (left) with Cllr David Oliver 

Town clerk Terry Jordan (left) with Cllr David Oliver - Credit: Wisbech Tweet

“Councillor (David) Oliver expressed his disappointment regarding what he considered to be the lack of design detail in the plan/drawing which had been produced by the contractor. 

“He made a number of comments in relation to various elements in the latest version of the scheme.” 

It was revealed that he later “requested that his dissent” to acceptance of the quotations be recorded.  

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech - Credit: Wisbech Tweet

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech - Credit: Wisbech Tweet

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech - Credit: Wisbech Tweet

A council spokesperson said the rationale behind the scheme was to deliver something to add to the “vitality and vibrancy of the town”. 

The construction works are expected to take 10 weeks. 

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech - Credit: Wisbech Tweet

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech

Family event last month in Market Place, Wisbech - Credit: Wisbech Tweet

Workmen will begin at The Globe end of the Market Place, with approximately 60 per cent of the space being undertaken 40 per cent. 

The spokesperson added: “It is anticipated that there will be no or little disruption to town centre activities during the period of the works.  

“Market trading will continue during the period of the construction works, albeit that there will need to be temporary changes to some traders’ pitch locations.” 

Market Place 1975 Wisbech

Wisbech Market Place 1975 - Credit: Cambs CC

Associated with the enhancement scheme for the Market Place itself will be “pedestrianisation” of the Market Place area, whereby there will be no access to the Market Place from Church Terrace between 7.00 am and 4.00 pm each day.  

The council said it is “anticipated” county highways will undertake this work next month.  

Cllr Andrew Lynn, chair the Market Place management committee said: “I am extremely pleased that works to deliver this project are now beginning.  

“It is great when an ambition or a desire to make better the place where you live can be turned-into a reality.  

Wisbech Market Place around the 1960s

Wisbech Market Place around the 1960s - Credit: Cambs CC

“This has not been easy to achieve but the hard work and determination of council members and staff, plus liaison and collaboration with the contractor, suppliers and other relevant agencies, has paid-off”.