Spend plan for March put on hold

PUBLISHED: 13:04 22 September 2006 | UPDATED: 22:15 28 May 2010

EVIDENCE suggesting that March has become the poor relation in the past 25 years was partly behind a senior councillor s proposal to contribute £200,000 towards a massive Gateway regeneration project. But the strategy of Councillor Peter Skoulding to us

EVIDENCE suggesting that March has become the poor relation in the past 25 years was partly behind a senior councillor's proposal to contribute £200,000 towards a massive 'Gateway' regeneration project.

But the strategy of Councillor Peter Skoulding to use his influence as Fenland's portfolio holder for finance was scuppered in a late move by councillors from the rest of Fenland.

Their anger at seeing March top the list of favoured projects for the bulk of a £300,000 capital projects surplus this year, meant that the council's leader, Councillor Geoff Harper, had no option but to pull a recommendation from last Thursday's cabinet meeting.

Cllr Skoulding was taken aback by the level of opposition to his proposals, and stoically defended the 'Gateway to March' scheme which could have kick-started major improvements to the verges and footpaths along Wisbech Road.

But his colleagues were having none of it, and now Cllr Skoulding must convince colleagues his proposals have merit.

Cllr Skoulding is unbowed and produced figures which show that spend per head in March on capital projects for the past 25 years has been just £438, compared with £774 in Wisbech and £578 in Chatteris. Only Whittlesey, on £318, is lower.

Cllr Skoulding feels March's case is made even stronger by the realisation that a significant part of capital spending in the town has been on Fenland Hall - which serves the whole community.

Cllr Harper added: "This is to do with the surplus we have and, obviously, there is a debate as to how to dispose of it.

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