Protest letters flood in to Fenland Council over plans to build 45 homes on site of house and grounds left to the town by former mayor
PUBLISHED: 14:25 01 May 2019
Four years after her death, former mayor Patsy Brewin’s home has provoked an outcry over plans by the executors of her estate to demolish it to make way for 45 flats and houses.
In a revised application to Fenland District Council, the executors – the March Educational Foundation – are being challenged over the scheme is what Mrs Brewin intended.
Councillor Kit Owen, the foundation chairman, has always insisted that Mrs Brewin had a particular desire for the proceeds from a sale of the house and land to be used to encourage more students from the town to attend Oxbridge colleges.
But in a barrage of letters to Fenland District Council – which has kept comments open until May 10 on the application – dozens have raised objections.
Some cite the traffic and overdevelopment but many others are challenging whether they believe the foundation is adhering to the late councillor's wishes for Brewin Oaks in City Road.
Jeff Walters said: “This property was left to the town of March for educational purposes. As a friend of George and Patsy Brewin this would be a travesty. This is not what they wanted – this could be a school for tots or a nursery with a loving playing field. Do not knock it down.”
Ian Hunter said: “This property was left by the Brewins with explicit instruction for the house and grounds to be given over to the education needs of the people of March.”
He felt the development was an “a flagrant disregard of these wishes and furthermore a development such as this would be detrimental to the area and traffic/access to amenities such as the leisure centre and park would be affected.”
Near neighbour Nicholas Thrower said: “This was not the legacy (the Brewins) wanted. It was always their intention to leave the property as an old people's care home for the town.”
Vanessa Grange said: “From my understanding the land and house was bequeathed for education purposes for the local community not for a housing estate”
Caroline Walker questioned access, local services, schools and parking.
“This is not what the original owners wanted the house/land used for when they died,” she said.
She felt it 'disgraceful' that it could be demolished and built on.
Paul Howe said: “The local roads will not cope with the extra 45 houses in the area.”
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He, too, believed the plans were in “direct conflict with the terms of the Brewins bequest to the town.
“If the land and house were to be used to provide a community education centre then I would see no problem.”
Michael Stalker said: “Residents are sick to death with traffic in March and all you want to do is make it worse; think of the infrastructure first which is what you should be doing not thinking of profit over people”.
Nicola Christy said she was “outraged – this was not what it was left to the foundation for; convert it to an education centre”.
And Diane Bull said: “I can't believe that this is actually being considered.
“George and Patsy must be turning in their graves. This should be turned in to something for the whole town to enjoy.
“It would be such a shame for March if this goes ahead.”
Emma Cole said: “When Mr and Mrs Brewin left this land to the town of March it was for educational purposes and to help people.
“It was not to be developed by the board of the charity.
“On a planning perspective- this does not go in keeping with the surrounding areas. The site will be over developed, parking and access is already a problem along this narrow road, with up to 80 cars using it.
“I fear it will get worse.”
Cllr Owen has previously stated that “what Patsy didn't want was for good capable young people not being fully supported if they were offered a place at Oxford or Cambridge.”
He said that if the planning application is approved and the land is sold for houses it will provide the foundation “with a much bigger sum”.
March Town Council recommended the original application for 53 homes for refusal on the grounds of overdevelopment and land suitability.
Many other townsfolk have lodged objections – all are viewable on the Fenland Council planning website.
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