March homes plan should be approved, says Fenland Council planners, despite objections from residents

Outline plans for 30 homes off Berryfields, in March, have been recommended for approval.

Outline plans for 30 homes off Berryfields, in March, have been recommended for approval. - Credit: Archant

A plan to up to build 30 homes in March is set to get the go-ahead – despite 20 letters of objection from residents.

Fenland District Council’s planning committee has been recommended to approve outline plans for up to 30 homes on agricultural land east of Berryfield, at its meeting next Wednesday.

A report to councillors says the proposal is “considered to be acceptable in principle as it would represent a sustainable extension to the edge of March which would contribute to the delivery of housing envisaged by the Local Plan.

“With regard to detailed considerations (such as highway matters; drainage/flood risk; amenity impacts and the impact upon the character and appearance of the area) the development would not lead to any unacceptable harm.”

However, residents claim in their objections that the proposal ignores the Local Plan. They say the site was “removed as an allocation (along with Estover playing field) during the consultation stage due to North East of March not being able to sustain additional housing owing to the existing road structure”.

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Fears were also raised about additional town centre traffic and flood risk.

March Town Council has also recommended refusal of the application because the site is outside the development boundary.

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If approved, a foul water drainage plan must also be completed prior to a full planning application after Anglian Water raised fears the development will lead to an “unacceptable risk of (foul sewerage) flooding downstream”.

Middle Level Commissioners objected “until the relevant matters relating to the submission of the flood risk assessment ... are resolved to the Board’s satisfaction”. However, planning officers said an outline drainage strategy “concludes that the development could deal with site drainage”.

Twenty-five per cent of the homes will be affordable homes, with Section 106 contributions totalling more than £250,000 supporting March railway station, Westwood Junior School, Maple Grove Infant School, the library and play spaces.

The council’s planning committee will consider the application at its meeting, next Wednesday.

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