Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC), in partnership with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, is looking at a number of innovative solutions to enhance our market towns and support the high streets to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

Based on the Healthy Streets Approach, a framework that puts people and their health at the centre of decisions about designing, managing and use of public spaces, we are aiming to make our town centres healthy, safe and welcoming for everyone.

Currently, the projects include looking at a number of different ideas. These include:

  • parklets - mini parks transforming kerbside space into community areas

  • solar benches – smart, urban furniture incorporating WiFi and wireless charging points

  • covered benches – offering shade and shelter where people can take a moment to stop and rest

  • town walks – working with the community to develop walking routes that showcase our market towns and the features that make them special, linked to the health benefits that time outside brings.

As part of the project, we are looking for feedback. A number of online workshops have already been held and there are three events where residents can come and speak to the team and learn about the proposed plans. The events will be held outside and COVID-19 safety precautions will be in place and observed.

  • Friday, 16 April 8.30am until 2pm at St Ives Market

  • Saturday, 17 April 8:30am until 2.30pm at St Germain Walk, Huntingdon

  • Saturday, 24 April 8.30am until 2pm underneath the Clock Tower, Ramsey Market

The events will enable the project team to listen and talk to the local community about their market town, and how they want it to feel in the future.

Head of Operations at HDC, Neil Sloper said: "The District Council is proud to support greener, healthier and safer social places, whilst supporting our local businesses through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent ONS survey showed that when people meet others, 79% of participants said that they would meet in a public outdoor space, and these options provide a healthy, safe location for people to meet.

We need to take our residents' views on board, and I would therefore encourage them to attend these events, if possible, whilst observing COVID-19 social distancing measurements that will be in place."

If you are unable to attend the events for any reason, but would like to find out more, please email research@pleydellsmithyman.co.uk or call 07951 384263 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.