Ambitious plans submitted to transform March through the Future High Streets Fund

A once in a generation opportunity to dramatically transform March and make it "fit for the future" has moved forward as part of a £1billion Government plan for high streets.

Fenland District Council is submitting a bid to the Government's Future High Streets Fund to bring forward ambitious proposals to revitalise March town centre.

The plans aim to diversify what the town has to offer and support its growth and sustainability by improving it for the wider community and attracting more people to live, work and visit in the future.

The bold schemes include transforming Broad Street to include much more pedestrian space and reduce traffic and opening up the underused riverside areas providing improved access and seating.

Other plans include redeveloping the historic Market Place to make it more of a community space, regenerating the Acre Road area and bringing vacant buildings back into use.

Cllr Chris Seaton, the Council's Portfolio Holder for Social Mobility and Heritage, said: "We are in a great position to submit a strong bid for March thanks to the Council's recent work on the Growing Fenland project and the emerging March Area Transport Strategy.

"Through this work residents have said priorities for the town should include reducing congestion, improving the town centre and making more of the river, and we have used these priorities to shape our final bid.

"We're incredibly proud of these plans, which I believe create a compelling and exciting bid to secure significant funding for the town."

"I'd like to pay tribute to the project team, including Council officers, our partners and consultants Hatch Regeneris, who have worked exceptionally hard to put this bid together, and getting it across the line despite the challenges that the COVID-19 crisis has brought."

Fenland District Council was told in July last year that it had been shortlisted for the final phase of its application to the £1 billion national pot, having been ranked among the UK's best initial bids by the Government.

The project team, together with councillors, has spent the past nine months developing the full business case in consultation with stakeholders, residents and partners including Cambridgeshire County Council, March Town Council, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and the Middle Level Commissioners.

The deadline for submissions to the Future High Streets Fund is June 5, with bidding authorities expected to hear more from the Government in late summer.

Article added: May 18, 2020

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