East Cambridgeshire District Council has submitted a £6.3 million Levelling Up Fund bid designed to help Littleport’s growing population live, work and thrive sustainably in the town.
If successful, the Council’s bid will support the creation of 270 new jobs and inject £19 million into the town’s economy.
It will also support the development of a 4.3km cycle path to help link up the businesses in the west with residential areas, the town centre and train station.
The proposals will help with levelling up the area which has one of the highest unemployment rates in East Cambridgeshire and lower levels of life expectancy. It also forms a key milestone in the wider Littleport Vision 2030 which includes the development of a country park to provide more green spaces for the town, and investment in the marina and riverside areas.
Specifically, the bid is seeking to improve and expand the E-Space North Business Centre into a dynamic hub to support the formation and growth of new and existing businesses. The proposed 3,325sqm facility is essential to address the shortfall in employment opportunities, reduce the number of people commuting out of the town to work and the lack of commercial work space in the town and will support approximately 270 workers.
Operating as a business growth zone by day, the hub, will also tap into the day-to-night economy, with the vision to become a training, arts, culture, heritage and community centre for the benefit of the local community.
The Council is also seeking to develop Littleport’s first dedicated cycling and pedestrian route. This is essential to help connect employment areas with residential communities, Littleport Train Station and surrounding green and open spaces.
As well as encouraging a shift to greener, active travel, this will provide health and wellbeing benefits through greater access to green space and surrounding nature.
Taken together, the two projects are designed to stimulate even more investment into Littleport by generating new jobs and providing greater opportunities.
The bid has the full backing of Littleport MP, Stephen Barclay, who said: “I welcome the efforts of Littleport Vision 2030 in my constituency, which are looking to address the key levelling up themes of transport, regeneration and culture. Littleport has one of the fastest-growing populations in East Cambridgeshire. It is vital that employment opportunities, commercial space and sustainable transport infrastructure keep pace with the needs of young families coming into the area. This funding will help Littleport evolve as a thriving and successful community. I very much hope that they are successful in their application for funding and I fully support this bid.”
Councillor Anna Bailey, leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, added: “I wholeheartedly support this Levelling Up Fund bid. A relatively small investment to reinvigorate our already successful business growth hub, E-Space-North, and create a 4.3km cycle path, will help unlock Littleport’s huge potential. On a practical level, this bid has the potential to generate 270 new jobs, promote active travel, support wellbeing and inject £19 million into the town’s economy. But perhaps more importantly it will inspire much-needed confidence in the town and provide the key to further funding streams, which in turn will enable Littleport to deliver its vision for 2030 for the huge benefit of everyone who lives there.”