Council to spend a penny or two from £8.4m 'pot' on new loos

March walkabout by councillors

Pictured on a walkabout of March: from left, Cllr Jan French, Cllr Chris Seaton, Cllr Ray Jack, Dr Nik Johnson and Cllr Chris Boden. - Credit: FDC

Pay and go toilets in Broad Street, March, are to be replaced as part of the £8.4m revamp of the town centre.  

The toilets – modernised a decade ago as part of a £500,000 ‘loo initiative’ for all four Fenland towns – will be demolished.  

Providing fit for purpose loos was essential, said town councillor Jan French who has fought to win approval for the Future High Streets Fund (FHSF).  

“On a scale of one to ten – and ten being the higher rating – I'd say we are on at least a nine in getting what our town needs and deserves,” she said.  

Cllr French welcomed Mayor Dr Nik Johnson to showcase the regeneration project: the Combined Authority provided £2m of the cost. 

Cllr Chris Seaton, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder for social mobility and heritage,  said: “The pandemic has taught us more than ever how important it is to build back better high streets, support businesses, improve the public realm, and celebrate pride in local communities.  

“We want to make March a vibrant, destination market town where people want to live, work and visit, and this FHSF project will help us to achieve that.” 

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MP Steve Barclay chaired a meeting of council leaders and officials for an update.  

He said it was a “once in a generation opportunity to make a significant change to the High Street, with Government providing £6.4million of the £8.4million”. 

Dr Johnson said he was proud of the work the Combined Authority was doing for March and to bring about the vision for “a greener, community-friendly town centre, with a thriving and prosperous future”. 

March is just one of 72 chosen towns across England to be awarded a FHSF grant following a successful bid by Fenland District Council in 2019. 

Five transformational projects are being delivered through the FHSF programme with completion scheduled by the end of March 2024. 

It includes increased re-developing the Market Place, regenerating the Acre Road are, riverside enhancements and creating flats over shops.  

Support will be given to bring vacant shops back into use and to help owners turn upper floor space into flats.  

Council leader Chris Boden said other projects being worked on “includes preparing a bid to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund for Wisbech, which we’ll be submitting in the spring”.