Ice cool reaction to four storey block of flats on site of March Freezer Centre but former mayor wants rid of ‘eyesore’

PUBLISHED: 14:20 22 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:20 22 March 2018

Illustrative plan produced by Brand Associates showing front and rear elevations of their proposals for the former freezer centre in Station Road, March.

Illustrative plan produced by Brand Associates showing front and rear elevations of their proposals for the former freezer centre in Station Road, March.

Archant

A councillor criticised Fenland planners for their recommendation to refuse the demolition of the freezer centre in March and replace it with a four-storey block of 34 flats with underground parking for 10 cars.

Illustrative plan produced by Brand Associates showing front and rear elevations of their proposals for the former freezer centre in Station Road, March. 
Illustrative plan produced by Brand Associates showing front and rear elevations of their proposals for the former freezer centre in Station Road, March.

Councillor Kit Owen said: “What does it take to rid the town of March of this eyesore after all these years?

“Apparently too many flats on the site applied for. Okay negotiate or compromise on the number.”

Cllr Owen, a former town mayor and planning committee member, said he hoped councillors “flex their muscles appropriately for the town of March”.

Planners say the scheme – recommended for approval by March Town Council - proposes a shop at ground floor level and 34 flats above is too tall and insufficient parking spaces.

Illustrative plan produced by Brand Associates showing front and rear elevations of their proposals for the former freezer centre in Station Road, March. 
Illustrative plan produced by Brand Associates showing front and rear elevations of their proposals for the former freezer centre in Station Road, March.

In addition, they say it doesn’t have enough room for the number of wheelie bins needed.

Tesco is worried that early morning and evening deliveries from its lorries could trigger noise complaints from new residents, others fear under ground parking, the first of its kind to be suggested in March, could be a flood risk.

Fenland District Council said in a report, to be discussed on Wednesday (28), that: “The Fenland local plan and March neighbourhood plan support redevelopment of this site.

“However, the scheme does not provide sufficient certainty that 34 flats can be accommodated on the site without detriment to the area, occupiers and neighbours, or that the underground parking would create a safe environment in terms of flooding, drainage and impact on the surrounding area.”

Illustrative plan produced by Brand Associates showing front and rear elevations of their proposals for the former freezer centre in Station Road, March. 
Illustrative plan produced by Brand Associates showing front and rear elevations of their proposals for the former freezer centre in Station Road, March.

March Society said the site needs some kind of regeneration but added that the height of the new build and the number of homes suggested could increase traffic in an area that already suffers congestion.

“As a civic society seeking to preserve what is best and unique in the built environment in March it is difficult to see how the demolition of a building with a unique roof will enhance and response to the character and local distinctiveness of the area,” a society spokesman said.

County council highways said that with a 34 flat development there should be at least 43 and up to 51 parking spaces.

The district council’s bin collection team said it would need 12 large wheeled bins and the bin store on the plan does “not appear to be large enough.”

Local residents fear traffic congestion on Station Road, and say it will deprive the town centre and increase crime.

In addition they say the four storey development will overshadow and block light to surrounding properties.

The application has been put in by Ted Brand Associates on behalf of Mr S Green.

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