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Huntingdonshire District Council’s new Joint Administration has pledged to listen and respond to the views of residents on the Market Towns Programme as the next steps were agreed at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday 16 June.

The Market Towns Programme (MTP), which includes the St Neots Future High Streets Fund, is designed to support Huntingdonshire’s town centres to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst also looking to renew and reshape town centres and high streets across the district to promote growth and ensure their future prosperity.

As part of the programme, the development of three masterplans for St. Ives, Huntingdon and Ramsey, which provide the basis for aligning regeneration aspirations with funding opportunities over the coming years, have recently been completed.

The next step for the District Council is to undertake a period of engagement with residents and stakeholders over the coming months so they can feed back on the masterplans and Market Towns Programme. The engagement will also be used as an opportunity to inform the development of a new Huntingdonshire Place Strategy and a range of other council strategies including those for the environment and the community.

Following the Cabinet meeting to update on the progress of the Market Towns Programme, Executive Councillor for Jobs, Economy & Housing, Cllr Sam Wakeford, said: "During the May election, many Joint Administration colleagues heard from residents who were concerned about these particular projects. Feedback from residents, especially in market towns, tells us that the public wants more transparency around the current scope of the projects and progress to date.

"This is why the Cabinet thought it so important to bring this paper to Cabinet at the first available opportunity. Now that the new Administration, and the public, are aware of the current state of the project, we can focus on an enhanced programme of engagement with stakeholders to inform the project’s next steps."

The MTP is funded through a combination of external funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC), Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA), Huntingdonshire District Council Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and National Highways. The cumulative funding confirmed to date for the MTP is £19.28 million with £16.28 million targeted at St Neots and the remaining £3 million being invested in Huntingdon, St Ives and Ramsey.