Homes plan for bowling green at the Braza, March, that closed after 50 years, expected to face refusal

Braza Club, March, whose application for housing on its former bowling green is expected to be refus

Braza Club, March, whose application for housing on its former bowling green is expected to be refused by Fenland planners. Picture: MARCH BRAZA - Credit: Archant

It’s been a bowling green for 50 years until it closed last October but the Braza Club, March, looks likely to fail in their bid to re-develop it for housing.

Neighbouring residents of Swan Close signed a petition to Fenland Council objecting to six homes being built there and local councillor Steve Count is also opposed.

Cllr Count says the scheme is “out of character” and issues of highways access and tandem parking make it unacceptable.

The decision rests with Fenland Council planning committee that meets next Wednesday. The committee is meeting virtually via Zoom and streamed live on YouTube.

Fenland’s planning officers agree the proposal is unacceptable. The issue is going before the planning committee, however, since the application was recommended for approval by March Town Council.

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Fenland planners say the proposal is “entirely at odds with the prevailing character of the area”. They also claim a large bin/collection area at the front and visible from Elm Road would be an eyesore

“Overall, the scheme is considered to be significantly detrimental to the character and visual amenity of the area,” they conclude.

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Rejection of the scheme is expected to finally end any likelihood of the Braza co-operating over a much bigger scheme to modernise and upgrade March rail station.

At one stage it was thought Braza land could be brought into a car park extension for the rail station.

Rail bosses have previously expressed safety concerns over the proximity of the club’s entrance to the station and a proposal to amend this with new car parking was previously discussed.

However, Councillor Chris Seaton, chairman of the project board overseeing Fen rail improvements, says it is likely Network Rail owned land will be used to extend parking.

He said it was part of a more ambitious programme – financed by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority – to modernise March rail station. The waiting room will be modernised, old station buildings upgraded, and roofing replaced.

“There is a lot of nice architecture at the station and we wanted to reflect better what is there and offer a better introduction to March for visitors by rail,” he said.

The recently opened café was part of a planned series of improvements – he hoped the current coronavirus lockdown would only cause a small delay to the improvement works.

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