Work On Soham And Littleport Masterplans Set To Begin

PUBLISHED: 16:57 21 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:23 04 May 2010

WORK on Soham and Littleport Masterplans is set to begin, formally, by August. Outside consultants will be employed to carry out the studies, for which funding of £40,000 has now been secured. In November last year, Soham district councillors Mark Duck

WORK on Soham and Littleport Masterplans is set to begin, formally, by August.

Outside consultants will be employed to carry out the studies, for which funding of £40,000 has now been secured.

In November last year, Soham district councillors Mark Duckworth and James Palmer started the Masterplan ball rolling with their 'vision for Soham', which already has unanimous support from Soham Town Council.

Ideas from the 'vision' will then feed into the Masterplan, which aims to bring employment, retail and housing growth to Soham and Littleport over a period of 20 years.

Soham district councillors this week entered into preliminary talks with a commercial agent, and a local businessman, in a bid to bring much-needed jobs back into Soham. As part of the 'vision', a large industrial park could be created at East Fen Drove, on the opposite side of the A142 to the town.

Other potential areas for growth will be identified during the Masterplan process.

At a meeting of East Cambridgeshire District Council's strategic development committee on Tuesday, it was agreed to set up a steering group of six people to spearhead each Masterplan.

The group, which consists of four district councillors, a county council representative and a representative from Cambridgeshire Horizons, will meet as early as next week to discuss tenders from consultancy firms.

A party of district and town councillors had already begun meeting as far back as January and will continue to be consulted regularly

A final Masterplan report will then be produced in late November, and adopted into planning guidelines.

Members of East Cambridgeshire District Council's strategic development committee were told on Tuesday that the Ely Masterplan has proved extremely useful in providing a long-term vision and clear framework for the future development of the city.

They were told in a report: "Uncoordinated growth in the market towns can create significant difficulties ranging from dormitory towns where housing and employment growth are unbalanced to isolated communities where transport and infrastructure provision does not keep pace with new developments".

The committee was told that both towns are facing interest from developers and there is a feeling in Soham in particular that the town should be performing better economically.

"50 to 60 per cent of residents in Ely are out-commuting to work and I gather it is much the same for Soham," said Cllr Peter Moakes, chairman of East Cambridgeshire District Council's strategic development committee, told a meeting of Soham town councillors on Monday. "We want to reverse that trend."

At the Strategic Development Committee meeting on Tuesday, Cllr Duckworth asked council officers for reassurance that the Masterplans would be linked. "Ely, Soham and Littleport are inextricably linked," replied Mr Archer. "Part of this project is to make sure that helicopter vision of the whole district takes place as well as drilling down into each of these key settlements.

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