Leader seeks backing for new enterprise zone plan for St Neots

Chairman of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough combined authority, Councillor Robin Howe. The combi

Chairman of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough combined authority, Councillor Robin Howe. The combined authority was made official on Monday March 6. - Credit: Archant

The interim chair man of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority says he would like to see a new enterprise zone created between St Neots and Cambourne.

Councillor Robin Howe, who is heading up the combined authority ahead of the mayoral elections on May 4, says introducing a new zone in the “corridor” between the two towns could create thousands of jobs and make the area more sustainable.

Cllr Howe hopes to get the support of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership, which could then take the idea forward to the government for approval.

Cllr Howe said: “I’d like the corridor between Cambourne and St Neots to become an enterprise zone to give it the stimulus that the Alconbury Weald zone has in terms of roads and incentives to build.

“If we can create 5,000 jobs in the area, it is 5,000 fewer people who are commuting. It would much more sustainable and self-sufficient.”

Cllr Howe says the enterprise zone would form part of a “comprehensive plan” for the St Neots economy, which would include looking at skills, infra-structure and recreation.

The news comes as the combined authority agreed funding on Monday for a new masterplan for St Neots, which will look in detail at the future of the town.

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The study will take an in-depth look at the future development of the town and work is hoped to begin in April, with a report complete before the end of the year.

Cllr Howe said: “We are going to come up with a plan of how St Neots will look in 20 to 30 years. It will look at the growth options, what that will mean for the community, how many jobs will be created and how many homes will be built.

“Our job is to persuade residents that this is something that is going to be good for St Neots. It is not just about new homes. We have got to be able to show other elements are part of the package – that means skills, jobs, education, and infrastructure.”

Cllr Howe said discussions were already taking place with the mayor of St Neots, Councillor Derek Giles, as well as Councillor Barry Chapman, who represents Priory

Park on St Neots Town Council.

He added: “I want to work closely with the town council on this. I’ve spoken with the mayor and I want the council to be front and centre.”