Public Consultation

Background and Context

The Site and Surroundings

The proposed site extends to approximately 3.25 hectares of agricultural land on the south eastern side of March. The site is predominantly bounded by hedgerows and trees. There is a Public Right of Way (PRoW) (March 82) running along the southern boundary of the site, linking to Byway March 24 which is a route continuing from the southern edge of March settlement, following field boundaries to the south and east of the Site and terminating at Upwell Road. There is a straight permissive footpath which leads from Upwell Road and follows the eastern edge of March, at the western edge of the Site. To the site’s northern and western boundaries are gardens and rear access of existing properties. Agricultural land lies to the south and east of the site.

There are no environmental or physical constraints which would prevent development at this site, subject to mitigation measures where appropriate. The scale of development proposed is considered to be wholly appropriate this this town location in order to support the viability and vitality of existing village services and amenities. These include Cavalry Primary School, the Co-operative Food store, Neale-Wade Academy, March and District Museum, Lloyds Bank, Costa Coffee, March Library, Lloyds Pharmacy, Mercheford House medical centre, a variety of pubs, cafes and shops. There is a bus service from the Cavalry Road stop, a minutes-walk from the site which provides frequent connections to Westry and Peterborough.

Therefore, development at this site represents sustainable development with excellent access to amenities and services including good public transport links.

National Housing Crisis

The country is currently experiencing a national housing shortage. As a result, the government is committed to boosting significantly the supply of housing.

Fenland District Council (FDC) Development Plan

It is the responsibility of Fenland District Council (FDC) to plan for its housing need. The development plan for FDC currently consists of the Local Plan 2011-2031 which was adopted in May 2014.

The proposals are considered to be policy compliant. Policy LP3 sets out that the majority of the district’s new housing growth will be directed to the Market Towns (of which March is one) and Policy LP4 details that sites providing fewer than 250 homes could come forward as windfall sites as appropriate. Policy LP9 also indicates March as a focus for housing growth. Policy LP16 sets out the criteria for development in market towns. The proposals are considered to meet the various criteria of Policy LP16 by providing a high quality environment via good design with new open space that makes a positive contribution to local distinctiveness whilst retaining, protecting and enhancing natural features where possible. In addition, Policy H2 of the adopted March Neighbourhood Plan 2017 echoes the sentiments of the development plan in relation to windfall development.

Land off Upwell Road, March would represent an appropriate and sustainable location for additional housing, can significantly boost the supply of homes, and can be delivered in the short term.