May 25 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, February 14, 2013
OVER the past 25 years March has expanded its residential areas with little improvement to amenities.
With the exception of the bypass built in the mid-70s and the arrival of Sainsbury’s in the mid-90s, nothing has changed to support the increase in population.
Progressively the town has become more congested. The surface drainage system has become overloaded at times of heavy rainfall, it has become more difficult to get to see a doctor or dentist and our schools are already at capacity.
On a positive note the redevelopment of Neale-Wade College is a major improvement for the town.
Lessons should be learned from the failures of the past, but Fenland’s core strategy proposes 11,000 new homes between 2011 and 2031 with 4,200 of these new homes earmarked for March.
Without a detailed strategy to deal with infrastructure, development on this scale should not take place. To do so will see more traffic chaos in our town, overcrowded schools, longer waiting times at doctor or dentist surgeries.
It is fair to say that the provision of infrastructure does feature in the core strategy and it is viewed as being a major part of the document, but as there is no foreseeable funding it is being suggested that any improvements to infrastructure will have to be funded by developers, which suggest only limited improvements can be achieved.
Residents of March North have been very vocal in their opposition to these proposals. Of the 4,200 new homes for March, 450 will be built in the North Ward.
To develop this area to the degree being proposed will have a major impact on current infrastructure. To negotiate the level crossing at Station Road will become more of a problem than it already is, there is no other natural access to the town or route to travel out of town, schools have limited places now and will come under more pressure.
A major review of what will be required for the future to support the levels of proposed development is required. It should not be left to individual planning applications and an assessment being made at that time about what is required in supporting infrastructure and then looking to developers to fund these improvements.
I support the residents of March North in their opposition to these proposals and will do so until such time as these proposals are changed - and we have a meaningful strategy for improved infrastructure.
CLLR PETER TUNLEY
March North Ward
Fenland District Council