On 26 August 2019, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced that St Neots has been selected as one of 50 towns that will benefit from a share of the £1 billion Future High Streets Fund.
The scheme was launched in December 2018 and is a key part of the government’s plan to renew and reshape town centres and high streets in a way that drives economic growth and sustainably improves how people use them.
Huntingdonshire District Council submitted an application to the fund, in collaboration with St Neots Town Council and partners from the St Neots Masterplan Steering Group. The bid outlined the challenges facing St Neots’ High Street and town centre and seeks to set out the opportunities that could be explored and captured to drive future success of the town in response to national trends on the changing role of high streets. This has resulted in St Neots being shortlisted and selected as one of the 50 towns for the Future High Streets funding for reimagining town centre use and revitalisation.
Cllr Gordon Thorpe, Mayor of St Neots, said “this is an extremely exciting time for St Neots. The funding available through this scheme could provide St Neots with the catalyst it has long needed to deliver transformational projects to open up the river frontage, provide improved community use facilities and local employment opportunities. The Town Council is working with our partners to ensure new proposals align with the Neighbourhood Plan.”
The Chair of St Neots Masterplan Steering Group, Cllr David Wells, said: “This is really good news for St Neots. The funding will enable us to build on the work of the Masterplan to position St Neots as an attractive place for all to live, work and enjoy life. We are looking forward to working with the fund to further develop a vibrant town with additional community, leisure, commercial and retail space.”
St Neots will receive up to £150,000 to commission the feasibility work needed to prepare transformational development plans, which meet the social, economic and community needs of the town. Capital funding will then be sought through the Future High Street Fund to deliver the preferred scheme.