The first of a string of multi-million-pound projects to transform and futureproof March town centre is now well underway.

Members of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority's Board unanimously voted and approved £4.2 million of funding to start construction of the main Broad Street scheme in March last week (January 25).

Work has now started on the regeneration of March Market Place, which is the first step in a jigsaw of inter-related schemes to transform and improve the high street following years of work to secure funding and finalise plans.

Cambs Times: An artist's impression of how Broad Street south, March, will look following the completion of the multi-million pound transformation.An artist's impression of how Broad Street south, March, will look following the completion of the multi-million pound transformation. (Image: Fenland District Council)

"These investments represent a once-in-a-generation transformation of March that'll make it fit for the future and respond to the changing needs of town centre users.

"We know there is some concern among residents about the short-term disruption that is unavoidable in delivering such huge improvements.

"We want to assure people that everything possible is being done to minimise that.

"This programme of projects represents a show of unity from so many different partners, all working together to enhance March and ensure it continues to be a vibrant, attractive, effective town now and for many years to come."

Market Place regeneration

The £440k March Market Place regeneration, which began on Monday, January 9, is expected to be complete in March 2023.

Wednesday and Saturday markets are being held in City Road Car Park (behind Iceland) until work is complete.

The Market Place regeneration is part of the £8.4million March Future High Streets investment, funded with £ 6.4million from the Government's Future High Streets Fund; one of 72 towns awarded the fund following a successful bid from Fenland District Council (FDC).

Broad Street

The Future High Street Fund funding will also help towards the costs of a multi-agency £9.8million project to prepare Broad Street's infrastructure and public realm space for the future.

The project will create a more open, social and pedestrian-friendly environment and increase traffic flow through the town centre.

Major funding from the Combined Authority's £4.2 million for the March Area Transport Strategy (MATS) will be utilised.

The Broad Street infrastructure improvement works will include replacing traffic lights at the junction with Station Road with a mini roundabout.

Current 30-minute limited-stay car parking spaces in Broad Street will be replaced with additional parking and disabled parking in other town-centre car parks, including City Road.

The plan complies with more stringent modern safety standards that existing parking wouldn't meet and is designed to increase shopper dwell time in the town to help businesses thrive.

Broad Street improvements will involve vital underground gas and water utility pipe upgrades to prevent future gas and water main issues as experienced by the town recently.

Cambs Times: An artist's impression of the work planned for the North of Broad Street.An artist's impression of the work planned for the North of Broad Street. (Image: Fenland District Council)

The gas works are expected to be the project's first phase and begin in February.

The main Broad Street works are expected to begin in May and last 12-18 months. Broad Street will remain open throughout.

The MATS project, run by Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC), which has responsibility for highways, is a much broader, longer-term project to deliver overall transport improvements in the town, all of which can help take pressure off the town centre.

Plans moving towards delivery in the longer term include a Northern Link Road and improvements to junctions at:

  • A141 / Peas Hill roundabout
  • A141 / Hostmoor Avenue
  • A141 / Twenty Foot Road
  • B1101 High Street / St Peter's Road.

Further improvements

The Future High Streets funding will enable further enhancements, upgrading paving to high-quality material, and installing greenery, trees, planters, new cycle facilities, bus stops and street furniture.

This funding will also facilitate the relocation of the historic water fountain at the top of Broad Street to a much more accessible public space within the newly created pedestrianised areas.

Cambs Times: An artist's impression of the enhancements planned for the riverside in March.An artist's impression of the enhancements planned for the riverside in March. (Image: Fenland District Council)

£1.25million of Future High Streets funding will go towards the riverside enhancement scheme.

This includes relocating the toilet block, enhancing lighting, maximising river views, planting, and allowing repair and renovation of the moorings.

What have councillors said about the schemes?

Cllr Steve Count, district and county ward member for March and CCC's MATS Group member, said: "This combination of schemes is about making the best of March's wonderful assets.

"We have had many people get in touch to tell us how excited they are by the plans.

"Of course, there are also those with concerns over changes, especially to town centre parking and traffic flow.

"We want to assure people that these plans have been very carefully thought through, with input from experts on town centre development and traffic management.

Cllr Jan French, deputy leader of FDC, district and county ward member for March, said: "It's wonderful to see work now beginning on the ground.

"As representatives of the community as well as members of it, we've put a great deal of effort into ensuring the plans can be implemented with the minimum of inconvenience and will continue to monitor that closely throughout.

"We're confident that once work is complete, these projects will be a great boon for the town."

Deputy Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Cllr Anna Smith said: "Investing in March is a huge priority for the Combined Authority.

"I'm proud that our multi-million support for Broad Street and MATS will help transform March's townscape for years to come, along with the refurb of the town's historic railway station that the Combined Authority funded as part of our £9.5 million investment into regenerating Fenland stations."

For further information on March Future High Streets, visit