Leaving a positive legacy
One of our main objectives with the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet improvement scheme is to leave a positive legacy. We are already providing a range of benefits as part of the main scheme. Our approach is to work directly with partners such as local authorities, parish councils and community groups from the beginning to shape a legacy that adds value and supports local initiatives. Take a look below to see what we’ll be focussing on…
£2 million legacy fund
We have a £2 million legacy fund to support not-for-profit groups in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
With this fund we want to maximise the wider benefits of the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet improvements for local communities, the environment, and the local economy.
All local not-for-profit groups can apply for the grants, including local schools, charities, community groups and environment and heritage groups.
The two funds available are the Community Fund and the Social Value Fund. For both funds, the applications will be assessed and awarded by two independent panels. This is the first of five funding windows and is open to application until 1 February 2024.
The £250,000 Community Fund is available for not-for-profit groups or small voluntary and community organisations, with grants of up to £15,000 being available to help support the local community. It is administered by the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation.
To be eligible for the Community Fund you must ensure your group does one of the following
- Benefits the local economy, skills, and employment, investing in opportunities to inspire future careers in STEM
- Supports and connects communities – supporting community safety, health and wellbeing issues
- Enhances the environment – supporting the community to improve and enhance the natural environment
Social Value Fund
Available for all not-for-profit organisations, the Social Value Fund of £1.7 million (with grants between £15,000 and £200,000) is designed to maximise the wider benefits of the scheme.
To be successful, applicants for the Social Value Fund must be able to show that their project or initiative falls near the proposed route, and will meet one of the following criteria:
- Economic prosperity – investing in new skills, jobs, supply chains and delivering improvements in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire
- Improving the environment – making sustainable decisions that conserve natural resources and enhance ecosystems
- Community wellbeing – addressing health-related issues and improving connectivity, amenities, education, and heritage programmes for communities
- Equality, diversity, and inclusion – supporting the creation of a more equal society by increasing opportunities for under-represented groups
As well as the £2 million legacy fund, we've been busy doing other work in the community...
Enhancing the environment
We understand the importance of the natural environment and will work with communities to:
- improve biodiversity
- enhance habitat connectivity and ecological features
- improve water quality and flood attenuation
We have already secured additional funding to support the local community in improving biodiversity around the main scheme. We have partnered with some local farmers and a park estate to look at how we could specifically enhance biodiversity on and around their land.
Connecting and supporting communities
We are sensitive to the needs of our neighbours and the communities who live and work near to our project, so we are working with our partners to:
- enhance connectivity and accessibility for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders
- improve different modes of transport journey choices
- increase investment in local community groups and voluntary organisations
St Neots town centre regeneration
We have secured an additional £3.5 million to support St Neots town centre regeneration projects. The funding will help to deliver three of the six Future High Streets Fund projects, it will support:
- Pedestrian and cycling improvements to St Neots Road Bridge
- High Street improvements including: tree-planting, improved crossings and safer loading and parking bays
- Market square improvements
- Improved public realm and connectivity enhancement for buses and taxis
- More information can be found on Huntingdonshire District Council website
Developing local skills, employment and the economy
We’re keen to support local economic growth around the area of the scheme and will work with partners to:
- Improve local employment opportunities through upskilling
- Increase awareness of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) career opportunities within National Highways and the construction industry
- In 2021 we created a Minecraft video game which sees players jump in and explore the proposed A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet improvements scheme
- We visited four schools local to the A428 scheme to show pupils in years 3-9 our Minecraft workshops. In the workshops the interactive game gave students the chance to build a new stretch of road and enhance the habitats for local ecology. We have more school workshops planned in 2022.
- The A428 Minecraft package is aligned to the National Curriculum and available to all teachers and schools. We hope that the games and workshops will inspire the next generation of talented tech experts, engineers, scientists and mathematicians. If you have Minecraft Education Edition, you can access the games and lesson plans here.
Protecting our heritage
We understand the importance of local heritage given that the area has a vast amount of history. We’ll be working with partners to:
- improve awareness of local heritage
- increase preservation of historic and heritage assets
Archaeology work in Field 44
- Archaeological investigations are an important part in preparing to build a road. We are carrying out advanced works around our proposed route, some of this is happening on agricultural land nearby and may be visible from properties and roads. We need to excavate and record any archaeological features before we start construction. By doing this work now, we can carefully and sensitively excavate any finds, help keep the overall construction programme as short as possible and reduce disruption for the local community.
- We have been working with archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) and the Cambridge Archaeological Unit at a site known as Field 44 near the village of Tempsford and the Black Cat roundabout. Here we have discovered lots of ancient artefacts. These include a flint arrow dating back to the Neolithic (c. 4000-2200 BC) and Bronze Age (c. 2600-700 BC). Early excavations suggested that the site had a long and complex history.
- You can join the journey and hear from the experts via a new online MOLA A428 Archaeology Portal. Packed with information about the site, its history, podcasts, images of the finds and behind-the-scenes videos. You can also keep up to date with our findings on our Twitter and Facebook pages.