July 25 2014 Latest news:
Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY
Monday, July 7, 2014
The Government has agreed to spend £500,000 split between funding studies into re-opening the Wisbech to March rail line and dualling the A47 from the town to Guyhirn.
The money will be available from next April but NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay is hopeful either Fenland District Council or Cambridgeshire County Council will underwrite the package sooner knowing they will get their money back next year.
The cash is coming through The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership as part of a £71million agreement that also confirmed the money will be there for Whittlesey and the A605.
The funding agreement means work can move ahead quickly on the Kings Dyke level crossing improvements which the Government says will “support housing and employment in both Whittlesey and Peterborough”.
Of the money for Wisbech, Mr Barclay said: “This is the breakthrough we have been waiting for.
“For years people of Wisbech have felt forgotten with a disgraceful transport infrastructure situation where the people of Wisbech have had no train station and less than two miles of dual carriageway in the whole district.”
Also included in today’s announcement is the creation of a Higher Skills Science, Technology and Management Centre for the Kings Lynn campus of the College of West Anglia.
A Government spokesman said: “For the first time this will bring higher education to West Norfolk and Fenland. This investment of £6.5million will provide higher education and equivalent qualifications for up to 300 people each year.”
On Friday, Mr Barclay welcomed Robert Goodwill, Under Secretary of State for Transport, to Wisbech to discuss the issue of the A47 and the need for the stretch between Wisbech and Guyhirn to be dualled.
Mr Barclay said: “Mr Goodwill spent the day travelling the A47 starting from Lowestoft and finishing in Peterborough to see just why the upgrade of this major arterial route should be given maximum priority.”
During Friday’s visit by Mr Goodwill, the A47 Alliance campaign group provided him with an updated prospectus. It calls for £416million of targeted improvements over the next six years, and a commitment to fully dual A47 – estimated to cost £1.4billion – in the longer term.