St Neots is to benefit from £5.8 million pounds of investment as part of ambitious plans to promote the market towns of Cambridgeshire.

The St Neots Masterplan for Growth, commissioned by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, working in collaboration with Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) and St Neots Town Council, has drawn up a blueprint for future development.

A meeting was held on January 19 and a steering group, chaired by district councillor, Robin Howe, and including representatives from the town and district councils as well as James Palmer, the mayor of the combined authority and St Neots mayor, Cllr Derek Giles, was set up. The steering group also includes representatives and experts from industry, planning, property and business, who will all drive through the recommendations and a programme of activities.

"I want all the market towns of Cambridgeshire to become vibrant economic and social centres; growth hubs, if you like, where people can find jobs, affordable housing and efficient transport systems and I believe the St Neots Masterplan initiative is a big step toward achieving this objective," said Mr Palmer.

The St Neots Masterplan is the first of a series to be commissioned by the combined authority to help determine how best to maximise regeneration and reinvigoration of key market towns of Cambridgeshire, that maximises their potential as vibrant places to live, work and relax.

Cllr Giles, added: "St Neots is the largest town in Cambridgeshire and all too often is seen as the forgotten town by many residents. At long last we will enjoy much needed investment to help fund and promote our town to become a vibrant and great place to live and work in."

Graham Bull, executive leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, added: "This exciting project is designed to unlock the potential of St Neots as a key town in our district that can be an even better place to live, learn and work and can also set the standard for ensuring a successful formula can be found to develop our other market towns in the district into the future."

Consultants were appointed to create the growth plan last July and recommended that £5.8 million investment was needed for the regeneration of the town centre, funding which will be provided by the combined authority.

Cllr Howe said: "St Neots is the largest town in the region and has great potential, but this needs to be unlocked. The initial £5.8 million will make a real impact and will make a considerable difference within the town. Proposals for the regeneration of the town centre and