Opportunities in the Cambridgeshire countryside
Huntingdon is an important bridgehead where the A1, the Great North Road crosses the River Great Ouse near to Hinchingbrooke House once home to both the Cromwell’s and then the Montagu’s (The Earls of Sandwich), wherein 1660 Samuel Pepys was secretary to Edward Montagu. Huntingdon was no stranger to politics when local resident John Major became the youngest Prime Minister of the 20th Century.
Huntingdon has a positive economy with above-average employment levels and good news on the entrepreneurial front with rising new business registrations per 10,000 adults. Huntingdonshire has a higher than average proportion of smaller businesses employing 0-9 people, at around 85% of all local units.
Huntingdon, with an overall average price of £222,040, was similar in terms of sold prices to nearby Godmanchester and Huntingdonshire but was cheaper than Hartford (£247,989). Overall sold prices in Huntingdon over the last year were 5% up on the previous year and similar to the 2008 level of £217,538. It has a large working-age population with high levels of resident satisfaction, it also has high levels of volunteering among residents who are a well-skilled adult population, with higher than average proportions qualified to NVQ levels 1, 2 and 3.
The local authority is positively committed to supporting sustainable growth, with an increase in total jobs from 2003 to 2011. Huntingdon has a diverse economy with significant hi-tec employment and industrial strengths in manufacturing. The East of England Forecasting Model scenarios taking account of the Enterprise Zone at Alconbury forecast that of the Cambridgeshire districts, Huntingdonshire will see the third highest level of employment growth in percentage terms between 2011 and 2031. As with the population forecast, a significant amount of the growth in employment is expected to take place at Alconbury.
The district’s population is forecast to grow by 31,000 between 2011 and 2031, with around a fifth of the expected population growth being linked to the employment growth at Alconbury Enterprise Zone. Business density is relatively high in Huntingdonshire having increased rapidly between 2004 and 2009. Huntingdonshire’s overall increase from 2004 to 2012 was the second highest in this region. That means Huntingdon property investment is ideal commuter belt property.
Economy & Employment
A diverse economy with industrial strengths in manufacturing.
The professional, scientific and technical sector accounts for the largest number of businesses in Huntingdonshire, however, the health and manufacturing sectors account for the largest numbers of jobs.
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The Annual Business Inquiry shows notable employment within the manufacturing sector specifically in the manufacture of plastic products and knowledge-intensive technical testing and analysis (the latter over 11 times the national average and employing over 1,000 people).
In response to new government policy, Huntingdonshire District Council and partners drafted submitted and won the opportunity to establish the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Economic Partnership (LEP). This will play a major role in attracting inward investment into the region and help to coordinate major infrastructure developments.
Huntingdonshire accounts for almost 14% of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s hi-tec employment with an estimated 7,100 jobs located in the district, the third largest share behind Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire. Hi-tec employment accounts for just under 11% of Huntingdonshire’s total employment.
A £25million redevelopment of Huntingdon town centre was launched in 2013.
Huntingdon District Council signed agreements with Sainsbury’s and Churchmanor Estates Company in May 2013.
The supermarket chain has been granted planning permission for its store in Huntingdon West, enabling the district council to build a multi-storey car park and redesign the existing car park with a new exit to the ring road.
When Sainsbury’s moves to its new store, the existing shop will be separated into three premises and the petrol station replaced with a major new shop unit.
In total the redevelopment will provide 110,000 sq. ft of new floor space.
The additional space creates an opportunity for larger retailers to open stores.
The agreement also means that Churchmanor Estates will be able to demolish the rear section of the shopping area and redevelop the section previously occupied by Inland Revenue.
It is hoped the regeneration project will ensure that Huntingdon thrives and is well placed to attract visitors and shoppers and give greater benefits to its residents.
Malcolm Sharp, HDC managing director, said: “This is a very significant day in the development of a vibrant and viable town centre for Huntingdon.”
Air: Luton and Stansted airports are both accessible inside an hour.
Rail: Huntingdon and St. Neots both have frequent rail services operating to London Kings Cross station by Thameslink and Great Northern.
Road: The A14 and A428 are the major trunk roads serving the growth areas, with the A1123 and other local roads also acting as important links.
Bus: There are regular buses to Peterborough, St Neots, Ramsey, St Ives and Cambridge all direct from Huntingdon, as well as within the town and to Hinchingbrooke Hospital. Most buses are provided by local company Go Whippet or Stagecoach in Huntingdonshire.
7 primary schools, 3 secondary schools, 1 special school, 1 independent school and 1 grammar school.
Hinchingbrooke is a remarkable state school. Set in acres of beautiful grounds and adjoining a country park. It was formerly the family home of Oliver Cromwell and of the Earls of Sandwich. The school finds inspiration from its heritage and gives both staff and students a very special pride and a sense of identity. We aim for all students to be nurtured as uniquely talented individuals, finding fulfilment through their learning and the development of their intellectual, creative, physical and emotional capabilities. We are confident that anyone associated with the Hinchingbrooke learning community, student or adult, will leave the richer for their experience says the Principal, Andrew Goulding.
Higher Education: Huntingdonshire regional College offers part-time professional courses that will help you gain a higher level qualification to further your career. Whether you have just finished your A-Levels and want to continue on to higher education without the costs of moving away, or you want to study around your current employment to help improve your long-term career prospects, you will be able to study on one of our Higher Education courses.
Shops & Leisure
Shopping & Dining: With its pedestrianised shopping centre, Huntingdon offers visitors a choice of national, independent and boutique shops. The town is undergoing a major face-lift with the ongoing redevelopment in several areas. The historic High Street, St Benedicts Court and Chequers Court now offer a good mix of shops for all tastes. Gift shops, craft shops, bookshops, antique shops, clothes and home-style shops. Market days are Saturday and Wednesday in the Market Square, with the popular Farmers’ Markets every other Friday and on the last Saturday of a five-week month. There is also a popular Crafts & Collectibles Market every Friday in the town’s Commemoration Hall. Visiting markets include French and Italian Markets and craft markets. There are plenty of places to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat or a more formal dining experience, as well as pavement cafés for a quick snack.
Sport & Culture: Huntingdon Racecourse is just a stone’s throw from the town, directly off the A14 and holds regular race meetings including family fun days. Houghton Mill a National Trust property, is a water mill located on the Great Ouse. Flour is still milled here and the building is a tourist centre, with a camping site nearby.
Green Spaces: Portholme, between Godmanchester and Huntingdon, is the largest lowland meadow in England. Perfect for peaceful walks and escaping the rat-race. Grafham Water Centre, near Perry, offers land and water based activities as well as walks and bike hire around the reservoir.