County council partners up with private developer to build 34 homes on site of former highways depot in March
- Credit: Archant
A Burwell company is to go into partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council to develop a 2.7 acre site near March rail station for up to 34 homes.
The site in Queen Street includes the former county council highways depot that has lain derelict since its closure 21 years ago.
Various attempts at development have been tried over the years – including a now lapsed consent for 24 homes – but this is the first time the council has worked with a neighbouring owner to develop the entire site.
The privately owned portion of land is owned by Mike Smith and his company put in the application last year for the joint development.
When it came before the town council objections were raised over flooding, access, highways, sewage and parking but local county councillors believe building houses could be the right move.
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“Adjacent land owner Mr Smith owns land along the northern boundary of the depot,” says a report to councillor.
“Planning consent for a residential development on the depot site was previously granted in 2005 but the approval period has since lapsed. There had been little interest in the site when marketed at the time.
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“A revised residential scheme which is a joint collaboration with adjacent land owner Mike Smith was submitted for planning and recommended for approval in March 2017, subject to a S106 agreement being signed by September 29, 2017.”
Councillors were told the site and buildings “are currently in a dilapidated state and overgrown with vegetation.
“There is evidence that people have gained access to the site and have been fly tipping and others causing damage to the buildings.”
The county council’s new investment arm will work up the development in association with Mr Smith,
“The parcel of land owned by Mike Smith will link to and create access to March Railway Station which will make the development more attractive to buyers,” says the report.
Land values are being assessed “and the valuation will have to make a provision for any remedial costs identified in the contamination survey available at the end of September”.
Council leader Steve Count said: “I support this application which has been modified from original proposals to make it much more of a quality and less dense development than originally submitted.
“The location will give direct access to the railway station for those wishing to walk so I believe it is likely to be occupied by families with low car usage.”
Councillor Jan French said: “I have no objections but I am aware that there have been repeated refusals by Fenland District Council planning committee and March Town Council has in the past objected to the application.”