Toggle menu

One of March's oldest buildings gets a facelift with Council support

One of March's oldest Conservation Area buildings is getting a new lease of life with support from Fenland District Council.

26 Market Place

Work on the previously vacant and partially derelict 26 Market Place, opposite March Town Hall and close to the Grade II Listed Ye Olde Griffin Hotel, is expected to be complete by September.

The redevelopment has become a labour of love for the mother and son team who bought it at auction not knowing the extent of its disrepair. The building, which has parts that date back to the 16th or 17th century and had been empty for several years, was close to being condemned.

A new tenant is lined up to move her beautician business into the ground floor and the rest of the building is being transformed into flats for rental.

26 Market Place

Rama Ragupathy and Kamala Alagappan (Foster) outside the March Market Place property they're developing.

Kamala Alagappan (Foster), 60, has been in the construction industry for three decades and runs a firm offering quantity surveyor, project management and health and safety services, but had never completed her own renovation project.

She took on 26 Market Place with son Rama Ragapathy, 29, who joined the family business after university.

Kamala said "If we'd had the chance to look at the building before we bought it I don't think we would have gone through with it, but we love it now. And the people of March have been so welcoming."

Fenland District Council awarded the project a £25,000 grant from the Vacant Unit Activation Scheme, which is available to property owners who are looking to bring empty shops back into use.

The Vacant Unit Activation Scheme is part of the Council's March Future High Streets Fund project, which has been made possible thanks to £6.4million from the Government's Future High Streets Fund (FHSF) and £2million from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Rama said: "At times we have looked at the budget and not felt it is commercially viable, but we've stuck with it because of the support of the Council.

"We couldn't have done this without the support of the Council and friends and family. We're so grateful.

"To see the Market Place being regenerated at the same time as our building has been really good.

"Cashflow is a linchpin of a project like this and when we received the £25,000 we were in such a difficult position we couldn't see a way out of it."

Vacant Unit Activation Scheme grants are available to eligible property owners in March until March 2024.

More information

Keep up-to-date with Fenland District Council via FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and our newsletter The Fenlander.

August 2023

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email