24-Feb-2021

Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) has agreed to commit a further £1.7 million of funds to the proposed St Neots town centre regeneration scheme, enabling the full £12 million project led by HDC to proceed.

The scheme proposes:

  • regeneration of the Old Falcon Inn

  • redevelopment of the Priory Centre/Priory Quarter

  • improvements to the Market Square

  • improvements to the High Street

  • improvements to the St Neots Road Bridge

  • a new waterfront route.

A provisional allocation of 70% of the original funding request was made by the government at the end of December 2020. HDC's strong business case ensured the majority of funding was secured, with many other bids being rejected or scaled back from the initial proposals. However, a deficit remained between the funding available and the total planned cost of the project.

Executive Leader of the council, Cllr Ryan Fuller, said: "Having sought further professional advice on the options available to us, we have concluded that the best way forward is to continue with the full scheme as originally proposed rather than scaling back our aspirations for St Neots or removing any individual elements of the project. I am delighted that we will therefore commit the additional £1.7 million needed to ensure that we can move forward with the full programme of investment in our largest market town. This represents a total investment by HDC of £5.25 million.

"This transformative project will significantly benefit the people of St Neots, enhancing the town for years to come and creating a town centre fit for the future. St Neots is the first market town in the district to receive a tailored investment and development programme, therefore the idea of scaling it back was one that my Cabinet and I were simply not prepared to support."

The total £12 million investment consists of the successful bid to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Streets Fund for £3,748,815 as well as £3.1 million secured from the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority. The final figure committed by HDC sits at £5.25 million following the Cabinet’s decision to fully fund the project.

The commitment of this investment will allow HDC to move forward in implementing the unique development plan designed for St Neots based on:

  • strengthening the existing offer to increase the population living and working in close proximity to the town centre

  • attracting new amenities for residents and visitors utilising the town centre

  • enhancing existing physical assets to increase footfall and dwell time in the town centre and

  • connecting the town centre better by improving access to the town centre for people walking, cycling and using public transport.

A final funding announcement is expected from central government at the end of March after which an extensive public consultation and engagement programme on all the proposals will begin so that residents can be fully involved in shaping the project and the future of St Neots town centre.