Let the celebrations begin as 99 year lease to secure Estover playing fields for the people of March is signed, sealed and delivered

PUBLISHED: 10:02 13 November 2015 | UPDATED: 10:02 13 November 2015

General Purposes Committee. County Hall, Cambridge. March councillors and residents and supporters out in force to hear councillors agree to allow Estover to be leased to the town.

General Purposes Committee. County Hall, Cambridge. March councillors and residents and supporters out in force to hear councillors agree to allow Estover to be leased to the town.

Archant

The celebrations began tonight as it was officially confirmed that a 99 year lease securing the future of Estover playing fields for the people of March has been signed, sealed and delivered.

Councillor Kit Owen and town clerk Clive Lemmon issued a jubilant statement in which they said they were “pleased to announce that the 99 year lease between Cambridgeshire County Council and Estover Playing Field 2015 CIC in relation to the 18.92 acres (7.61 hectares) of land known as Estover Road Playing Fields has now been signed.”

The town hall statement said: “It seems a long time since July 2014 when County Councillor Steve Count attempted to get half this land sold for residential development. Thanks to massive public support, however, that attempt was thwarted and we are now in the position we are today.”

The statement added: “Many individuals provided strong vocal support when needed most and March Town Council and the local press have been unwavering in their efforts to maintain an unrelenting pressure to retain this land for the people of March. “On many occasions, our efforts looked doomed to fail but, in the end, ‘people-power’ has prevailed. A huge thank-you to you all.”

The statement paid tribute to the members of the town council who had fought for the lease and to Fenland District Council for their support.

Support by the Cambs Times helped to secure Estover playing fields for the people of MarchSupport by the Cambs Times helped to secure Estover playing fields for the people of March

Both the town council and Fenland District Council had put in place “funding agreements to support Estover Playing Field 2015 CIC. These have been provided in a prompt and professional manner and, without them, no lease would have been possible.”

The town council says “the hard work really starts. Our aim is to transform Estover Playing Field into a first-class multi-sports facility for the benefit of the people of March”

To start this process, in the next week or two, the town council says they will be announcing the date and time of a public meeting to discuss the following issues:

Ensuring the wishes and aspirations of all interested parties are taken into account prior to producing a Draft Project Plan.

Cambs Times editor John Elworthy who chaired a public meeting to discuss Estover playing fields.Picture:Steve Williams.Cambs Times editor John Elworthy who chaired a public meeting to discuss Estover playing fields.Picture:Steve Williams.

Ensuring all sports clubs are “on-board” prior to producing an accurate on-site plan which can be used as part of the planning application process.

Receiving nominations (duly seconded, and accepted by the nominee) for those people keen to become directors or part of the management team of Estover Playing Field 2015 CIC.

The statement said that thereafter “it will be possible to appoint such directors / management team with a view to applying for additional grant funding and moving the project forward at the quickest pace feasibly possible.”

The statement concluded: “Once again, many thanks to all those people who have supported us over the last 16 months and may we now move forward together to create this much-needed top-class sports facility.”

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