The Government is giving us cash but tell US what YOU would like done to boost town centre of March?
- Credit: Archant
Demolishing derelict buildings in Acre Road, boosting the riverside for tourism and improving Broad Street all feature in a blueprint that has won up to £150,000 of initial funding for March.
If the plans win through to the next round, further millions of Government cash - plus other millions from the Combined Authority - could radically transform- the town
Fenland Council has got through to the second round of the Future High Streets Fund (FHSF), which aims to transform town centres and make them "fit for the future".
March is one of just 50 town centres in the country to go forward into the next phase of assessment, with each area receiving up to £150,000 of funding to develop detailed project proposals, based on their initial plans.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says it will work closely with the successful areas, focusing on places that have "shovel ready" projects where there might be opportunities to accelerate these.
When each place's business case development phase has completed (expected to take 6-12 months), each authority will submit specific project plans which will be assessed by the Government. Successful places will receive up to £25 million each depending on project sizes (average £5-10m).
The news comes as a further regeneration boost for March, with strategic work to help the town adapt and thrive already underway as part of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority's Masterplan for Growth initiative, known locally as Growing Fenland.
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Fenland District Council Leader, Cllr Chris Boden, said: "We know that the high street is no longer a place people need to go to, so we must focus on making it one that they want to go to.
"By developing mixed use space to support a cultural, retail and leisure offer, bringing greater population density into the town centre, and improving the public realm, we will ensure March is a resilient market town, which can adapt to irreversible global trends, such as online shopping."
MP Steve Barclay said: "Well done to councillors, officials and everyone involved locally in the successful bid."
"It is another example of how we are ensuring Fenland is on the map when the Government allocates funding."
Minister Jake Berry MP said: "High Streets are a crucial part of our local economies and people care about them because they are also the centres of their community.
"But we recognise that changing consumer behaviour and the rise of online shopping presents a significant challenge and that's why we are taking action to help them evolve."