Bold Gateway to March' wins funds

PUBLISHED: 12:39 15 September 2006 | UPDATED: 22:14 28 May 2010

A COUNCILLOR S bold project to create a Gateway to March looks to have won £200,000-worth of funding from Fenland District Council. Councillor Peter Skoulding, a member of both Fenland District and March Town Councils, has been pressing for months to ge

A COUNCILLOR'S bold project to create a 'Gateway to March' looks to have won £200,000-worth of funding from Fenland District Council.

Councillor Peter Skoulding, a member of both Fenland District and March Town Councils, has been pressing for months to get the money to improve the Wisbech Road entry into town.

Now it seems, after a £330,000 surplus in this year's capital programme, Cllr Skoulding, Fenland Council's portfolio holder for finance, has got his district council cabinet behind him to allocate the money to start the project.

The scheme, championed by the March Regeneration Partnership to which Cllr Skoulding belongs, will improve verges and spaces and bays along the road.

Total cost of the whole project is well over £1million and the district council hopes Cambridgeshire County Council may, eventually, pay the balance. In preliminary ddiscussions with the county council, Fenland was asked to put up £400,000 as its contribution to the overall scheme.

The report reveals, however, that a bid to the county council "failed, and no resources have been set aside or included in this financial year", finance director Mat Taylor reported to councillors.

However, the county council has confirmed the bid will be re-submitted for possible funding next year "but no guarantees can be given ahead of that process".

Mr Taylor added: "A visual gateway effect could be created as you enter this key route into the town.

The scheme has been designed for the bypass roundabout into town, and can be progressed as far along the Wisbech Road as budget will allow."

Agreement on the £200,000 was expected yesterday when other decisions, including setting aside money to buy a site at Whittlesey's Lattersey Nature Reserve, layby improvements for the A605 Kings Delph/Kings Dyke, £40,000 for Gorefield Sports and Amenity Centre and £45,000 for Benwick Multi Use Games Area, were also being debated.

Next year's schemes could include £340,000 to buy the King Edward Centre, Chatteris, as well as refurbishment of Church Terrace car park, Wisbech. All could be in the reckoning for next year's capital programme.

Mr Taylor said £7million was included in this year's capital programme but a surplus was later identified.

Councillors, senior officers, and community groups are all asked to make suggestions for the capital programme, he said, and it was up to the cabinet to decide where the money should be spent.

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