Estover clears another hurdle as Eric Pickles says he won’t stand in way of playing fields being transferred for community use

Estover playing field. Picture: Steve Williams.

Estover playing field. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

The transfer of Estover playing fields by Cambridgeshire County Council to March Town Council will not have to be referred to Secretary of State Eric Pickles for approval.

Council leader Steve Count said: “I can confirm that a valuation received on Monday means that the Secretary of State does not need to be consulted. This speeds up the process by more than three months.

“We now have something we can pass on to March Town Council who will receive notice this week. The recommendations were also dependent on Fenland District Council agreeing to contribute £100,000, which hopefully they will also be able to confirm their intent this week.”

He said: “Obviously there is nothing holding up March Town Council starting consulting with Estover Playing Fields Association and the people of March as to what they would like to see on Estover.”

Clive Lemmon, the clerk of March Town Council said they had received nothing official in writing to confirm the news.

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He said: “March Town Council can not do anything until confirmation has been received through the correct channels.”

Cllr Count, who called a public meeting last summer at the Oliver Cromwell Hotel to propose half the site for housing and half for sport, has shifted position,.

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Following a public meeting organised by the Cambs Times in December – which revealed overwhelming opposition to a mixture of housing and sports facilities at Estover- the county council back down. They have now agreed it should all be offered back to the town for community use.

Councillor Jan French said once the formal offer is put in writing the town council “can proceed to the proper way forward and set up the trust but this will not be a quick process.” She said the outcome was “great news for March.”

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