Town centre homes will increase use “of non-car modes by eliminating car parking and providing space only for bicycle storage”

March town centre

March town centre - Credit: Archant

A town centre plot that won permission for eight homes in 2010- and lost it four years later- is the subject of a fresh planning application.

Trade Recruitment Ltd own the land to the rear of 36 High Street adjacent to the Griffin and despite officers’ recommendation for approval, it was thrown out by Fenland District Council Planning Committee in January last year.

Now they have re-submitted an application, hoping to persuade the committee this time round the houses will “add to the vibrancy and vitality of the town centre”.

Trade Link’s application says it retains continued officer support and they hope councillors will recognise the modifications they have made.

And they are also relying on the Local Plan, adopted last year, which they claim has superseded some of the grounds for refusal.

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Councillor Steve and Mrs Count owned the site in 2010 when it gained permission and later sold it to Trade Link Ltd. Had the buyers built on it at the time there would have been no problem but consent lapsed and so a fresh application was needed.

When it came to committee last year one of the main objectors was Freddie Grounds who, according to council minutes, “pointed out that this proposal would be acceptable in a city centre, a rundown area or a university town” but in March it was a different situation.

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“It cannot be assumed that such a need exists in a predominantly rural location,” he said. “The area relies on a limited transport system and this type of house needs three or more spaces per unit and this town is no exception.”

Councillor Jan French argued the scale of development was “inappropriate” whilst Councillor Florrie Newell expressed surprise that it had once been given permission since the only access was via the market. To say eight houses wouldn’t need a car was unacceptable, she said.

Trade Link say their proposal “has been specifically designed for its town centre location and the development will assist in increasing the use of non-car modes by eliminating car parking and providing space only for bicycle storage.”

They also feel a precedent has been set for allowing homes in the town without parking when agreement was reached for the re-development of the former Minstrelz night club.

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