Fenland Council rejects bid to demolish former mayor Patsy Brewin's house in March and replace it with 41 flats
Councillors voted today to refuse permission to knock down the former home of Patsy and George Brewin and replace it with 41 flats and four houses.
The planning committee at Fenland District Council voted to reject the application on the grounds of over development.
The refusal came despite planning chiefs at the council claiming there was "insufficient justification" to reject the application.
"The proposal is in accordance with the relevant key policies of the development plan," was their conclusion to the planning committee.
However March Town Council had vowed to oppose the application and Cllr French, deputy leader of Fenland Council, and like Patsy also a former mayor, called called for it to be refused.
More than 450 comments were received in the space of two weeks during a public consultation earlier this year about the future of Brewin Oaks in City Road.
Residents raised 79 objections in relation to the proposal.
Loss of green space to built development, pedestrian safety, detrimental impact on West End Park and removal of trees inflicting on privacy were all on the list.
The number of flats on the site has been reduced from an earlier application which had proposed 53.
Planning officers at Fenland Council concede that if the development goes ahead it will "significantly change the character of the area".
Although concerns have been expressed about traffic coming out onto Burrowmoor Road, planners say the county highways do not foresee an issue.
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Highways officials have told Fenland Council "they do not consider the proposal to result in an unacceptable increase in traffic to justify refusal".
As we revealed earlier this year a copy of the will left by former March mayor Patsy Brewin shows she intended to allow for her town centre home to be sold to benefit future generations of students.
It is clear that Mrs Brewin, who died four years ago, was happy for the house and grounds to be sold to raise money for a trust to support students to attend university.
Her will instructs trustees "to sell my real estate" and "convert into money" the proceeds and once funeral and other expenses were met to hand this over to the March Educational Foundation.
Mrs Brewin's will requires them to put the proceeds "in a designated fund to be called the George and Patsy Brewin Scholarship Fund to provide for the application of the income in perpetuity" to support students attending university.
The will dictates that the proceeds will help any student who has attended Neale Wade Academy, March, for at least five years.
It says those benefiting from the trust must also have been resident within March, Doddington, Manea, Wimblington and Stonea for at least five years.
The will also says help can be given to qualifying students studying the sciences including physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, maths, engineering, technology or English or other languages or history of geography "at a major United Kingdom University".
Mrs Brewin, who was a primary school teacher at Dartford Infants and Maple Grove, was also a March town councillor for many years and was once described as the town's answer to Maggie Thatcher.
With husband George, who died in 2008, they owned a shop in High Street which sold everything from christening gifts, birthday memorabilia, jewellery and wedding gifts as well as running Brewins Funeral Directors.