Market Square, High Street and Bridge

On Thursday 12 May 2022 the Future High Streets Project Team held a stakeholder drop-in session to share options for the three public realm highways projects. These projects are improvements to the Market Square, the High Street and the road bridge.

The projects team was also present at the St Neots Farmers Market on Saturday 14 May 2022 and spent the day talking with residents and local stakeholders to share more information about the options and allow residents to have their say and give feedback.

Information Boards - About:

Huntingdonshire District Council and its partners are working to deliver an ambitious £16.3 million investment in St Neots town centre. By investing strategically in your town’s High Street we will: Strengthen by increasing demand by creating places for more people to live and work near the town centre. Attract by creating more reasons for people to visit the town centre. Retain by improving the look and feel of the town centre, encouraging more people to visit and spend time in St Neots. Connect by making it easier to get to and around the town.

 

What this event is about.  Investment is made up of 6 projects: 1 Pedestrian and cycling improvements 2 Priory Quarter redevelopment 3 St Neots High Street improvements 4 Old Falcon Inn regeneration 5 A new waterfront route 6 Market Square improvements Today we are focusing on the 3 projects that will revitalise the core of the town centre – St Neots Bridge, the Market Square and the High Street. These projects will:  create a hub for events and activities where people can come together  enhance the environment, making the town a place where people want to spend their time improve the town centre for people to travel to and around it on foot or by bike and invest in infrastructure to support local businesses to grow and develop.

 

The work to date. In December 2020 the government confirmed £3.7 million of Future High Street Funding for St Neots. This money, along with funding from Huntingdonshire District Council and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, is being utilised to revitalise your High Street. Turning project ideas into project reality takes time. In the period since the funding announcement we have been: Identifying partners who can help us develop the projects Undertaking site investigations to inform the design process Exploring the constraints and opportunities of each of the projects Making sure the projects deliver value for money Listening to local people Developing options for consideration Costing and reality checking proposals, taking into account rising prices Checking that the projects will deliver against the Future High Street Fund outcomes and  Collaborating with stakeholders. The options we are presenting to you today have been developed from engagement, evidence and policy. These are the options that can feasibly be delivered within the timescales. More importantly, these are the options that will improve and enhance the town for the benefit of the people who live in, work in and visit St Neots. These are options, they are not yet the final designs and more work will need to be done to develop them. Please take some time to view the proposals, talk to our team and leave your comments and feedback. Thank you.

 

Bridge and Gateway

St Neots Bridge and Gateway. We want to improve the point where the Bridge enters the town for all users. To do this we will invest in improving footpaths, the crossing and the surrounding public realm. Map displaying: New Yorkstone paving proposed for build-out Footpath widening on crossing for traffic calming and signify ‘gateway’ to St Neots Graphic line markings to delineate pedestrian crossing Footpath widening on crossing for traffic calming and signify ‘gateway’ to St Neots.

 

St Neots Bridge Lighting Lighting can be used to give the bridge a distinct look and create a sense of arrival. We are considering a range of options. Option 1 – Festoon lighting upon main bridge deck suspended between existing lighting columns to frame views of the river from the bridge. Option 2 – Using the bridge as a canvas to create a textured light effect upon the bridge to provide a visually pleasing view from the river. Option 3 – Vertical luminaires, triangular in shape create a central focal point to the bridge. Each vertical profile offers an interesting dynamic both on and away from the bridge.

 

What St Neots Bridge could look like. Image showing a mock-up of the bridge and surrounding area.

 

St Neots Bridge: Considerations and Opportunities Whether you are on foot or in a vehicle, the St Neots Bridge is a key route into the town. It is an important point of welcome and arrival. As shown on this plan, thinking about the bridge means thinking about the range of users, crossing points and lighting. Image of the bridge showing increased crossing size, footway build-out, stylised crossing and lighting features. Considerations and opportunities: Bridge deck width and bus carriageway requirements restrict footway. Service covers obstruct possible relocation of footway kerb.

 

Market Square

What your Market Square could look like. Image showing an artist’s impression of the Market Square.

 

What the Market Square could look like on events days. Both options include relocated seating which can be moved, creating an open space for markets and other events and activities. Image of the Market Square displaying stage space, the market footprint, in-ground power and vehicle access. Benches relocated to allow for organised events/market stalls. Raised seating edges to provide additional seating during events.

 

St Neots Market Square without disabled parking Option A – estimated cost £4,721,550 Enhancing the existing Market Square and creating a flexible multi-use space which can host the market and events. Café culture will be at the heart of the town. Seating can be moved to accommodate a range of activities and enable local people to come together in a public space. This option removes disabled parking which would be relocated. Image of the Market Square showing: New feature paving within central square Rain gardens with seating edge Seats relocated to central square outside market and event hours Mural paving to remain Historic lighting column to remain in place Reduced carriageway width to single lane access Footpath widening outside Falcon pub to accommodate future seating area In-ground power supply provided for event/market Cycle stands Feature sundial paving feature to remain Existing Yorkstone paving to remain Relocatable seats Footpath widening Mix of trees within paving and rain gardens.

 

St Neots Market Square with disabled parking. Option B. Estimated cost £4,721,550 This option reduces the size of the Market Quare to retain 8 disabled parking spaces in the centre of the town. Image of map showing new layout

 

The Market Square: The opportunities. Investing in the Market Square will deliver a range of benefits for the town. This diagram shows tangible outcomes change can deliver. Image of map showing new layout

 

The Market Square: Considerations The Market Square needs to work for a range of uses including the market itself, events, and the businesses around the Square. It needs to be a space where the community can come together. This diagram shows the elements the design team have taken into consideration. Is there anything we’ve missed? Pick up a post it note and an add your consideration to the plan. Image of map

 

High Street

What your high street could look like. Image containing a drawing of the street

 

The High Street: Considerations and opportunities The High Street is the spine of the town centre. It is an important route for pedestrians, cyclists, buses, and other vehicles. When thinking about proposals for the future we must take into consideration a range of factors as shown on this plan. Image of map showing considerations and opportunities

 

The High Street: Option 1 Estimated cost: £2,867,706 Option 1 improves pathways and crossing places for pedestrians. Relocating the bus stop from market square to the eastern end of the high street. All existing parking and loading bays are retained. Image of map showing the street

 

The High Street: Option 2 Estimated cost: £3,308,290 Option 2 greens the high street, makes it easier for pedestrians to get around and improves provision for buses. Adding trees and planting results in the loss of 4 parking bays on the south side. As with option 1 bus stops are relocated taking bus passengers to the heart of high street. Image of map showing the street

 

The High Street: Option 3 Estimated cost: £3,206,658 Option 3 improves the look and feel of the high street by making it greener. Pavements and crossing are improved. One additional parking space is created n the north side, but 3 are removed on the south. Bus stops are relocated to Tebbutts Road. Image of map showing the street

 

South Street The junction by Waterstones and Yorkshire Building society is a busy part of the town which can often feel camped and cluttered for pedestrians. Improving the footpaths, removing guard rails and adding a raised table junction will open up the space and make it work better for those on foot, on a bike or in car or van. What do you think? Add your notes and comments here. Image of map showing the street

 

Next Steps

Questions and comments Do you have anything else you want to tell us? Any questions for the project team? Put them on a postcard and add them to the comment box. Questions will be replied to through the FAQ section of our website. Image of QR code Want to join our mailing list? Visit huntingdonshire.gov.uk/FHSF or scan the QR code

 

A time for the future of St Neots High Street March 2019 – Step 1 Expression of interest HDC and partners submitted a bid for funding from the FHFS fund July 2020 – Step 2 Preparing the business case The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government gave HDC a small grant to develop the projects and a full business case. This process was done in collaboration with a range of stakeholders. September 2020 – Step 3 Submission of a full bid The business case, including the 6 projects, was submitted to the Government for their consideration. December 2020 – Step 4 Funding award St Neots was awarded £3.8 million from the FHSF, this alongside funding from HDC (£5.9 million) and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (£3.1 million) means a £12.8 million investment in St Neots. 2021 – 2025 – step 5 Engagement Talking to the community and Stakeholders about the projects and the future of the town. 2021 – 2025 – step 6 Planning Each of the projects will go through a full design, development, planning and procurement process. Projects of this size and scale require a 5 month procurement period. Summer 2023 – step 7 Construction Building work to deliver the projects. 2025 onwards – step 8 A newly reinvigorated town centre An exciting new town centre that meets the needs of the community, supports local businesses to thrive and attract visitors.