Recommendations set out by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review (CPIER), which highlight the importance of growth strategies for the district’s market towns, have been welcomed by East Cambridgeshire District Council.
The review was created by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Commission (CPIEC), which was established through support by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority in June 2017. Since then, CPIEC, led by Dame Kate Barker, have liaised with businesses, academics and policy makers to create their economic review which was launched in Westminster in October.
Dame Kate Barker, Chair of the CPIEC commented: “This area has been growing significantly – faster we believe than official figures indicate. But to continue this robust growth, both from homegrown businesses and from attracting international firms, major improvements in infrastructure and increased provision of housing of all types will be required.” She continues “We believe that the Combined Authority and local authorities need to work together to build the strong case for more powers and funding to be devolved to the local level, in order to improve the economy while improving the quality of life right across the area.”
The 14 recommendations highlighted in the report span across areas including infrastructure, skills, housing, health and Brexit, and aim to assist Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in reaching its target to double its gross value added (GVA) over the next 25 years.
As well as identifying needs for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough as a whole, the report focuses on the differing landscape of the region, including the significance of market towns. An estimated 25 per cent of the population in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough live in a market town.
Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, Councillor Charles Roberts, said: “I wholeheartedly welcome the report by the independent economic commission. The council is working with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to establish how the recommendations within the report can be taken forward and how we can begin working on unlocking the growth that is so desperately needed in our area; both housing and economic.
“East Cambs has successfully secured funding from the Combined Authority to deliver three market town strategies for Littleport, Soham and Ely. Each strategy will consider and implement the findings the CPIER report.”
The Commission and its report will inform the strategies and investments of the Combined Authority as well as acting as a source of authoritative advice and evidence for Government and other agencies with an interest in the prosperity of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.