Secretary of State for Communities visits Alconbury Weald


During his visit on Tuesday 6 November, Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, also formally opened Huntingdonshire Regional College’s new training centre on the site of the former airfield which will provide on-site training in construction and engineering.

The Secretary of State was given a tour of new Enterprise Zone, which included an opportunity to see the early infrastructure work being carried out by local construction companies in preparation for the Incubator Building which will be the first new building on site.

Eric Pickles said: “Governments can launch initiatives, but it is only when they are implemented on the ground that they can reap benefits for our economy and our communities. It’s been great to come to Alconbury Weald and see how Enterprise Zones are unlocking opportunities”.

”Clearly the partnership between local authorities, business and communities, working with the developers Urban&Civic, is starting to reap real benefits. They have shown that a planning application which would have taken 13 weeks, can be processed in just 36 days. Enterprise Zone benefits have also brought the site’s first tenants – Enval - to develop a world-class beating technology for recycling plastic laminates. And crucially you can see local companies bringing it all to life: starting the work of putting in the early infrastructure, pulling up and recycling materials from the brownfield site which will pave the way for its future development.”

Nigel Hugill, Executive Chairman of Urban&Civic added: “I am thrilled the Secretary of State was able to see first-hand the progress we are making with partners to deliver jobs and growth for the local area. From the young students in the new Regional College training centre, to local contractors working on site: we have been able to demonstrate the benefits that are already coming through from the early investment we have made. We hope this visit will enable him to put his shoulder behind our overall ambitions: to create a site for living and working which is recognised internationally, respected nationally and cherished locally.”

The Minister began his visit by meeting representatives from Huntingdonshire District Council including Jason Ablewhite, Executive Leader, Deputy Leader Nick Guyatt and MD Malcolm Sharp.  He also met the Vice Chair of the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, Mark Reeve and the Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council Nick Clarke. At Huntingdon Regional College he was welcomed by its Principal Susanne Stent. 

Urban&Civic are working with the Regional College, as well as Jobcentre Plus and the local authorities, to establish a jobs and skills hub. This will support local people into work with contractors and companies both delivering and occupying Alconbury Weald and help young people access the training they need for jobs in the future. 

Main image: On site, Eric Pickles with Nick Clarke, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, far left, and Jason Ablewhite, Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council.

Image below: Official opening with, from left, Nick Clarke, Jason Ablewhite, Nigel Hugill, Executive Chairman of UrbanandCivic, and Susanne Stent, Principal of Huntingdon Regional College.