Heritage centre bid for derelict cottages

Acre Cottages March which are in need of restoration -
Acre Cottages March which are in need of restoration -
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MARCH man Reg Kemp is urging people to join his fight to save part of the town’s historic heritage.

Mr Kemp is hoping to secure lottery funding to revamp a set of 19th century cottages which are currently lying derelict.

He has a meeting with Jonathan Latchford a representative of the Heritage Lottery Fund at the end of the month where he hopes he can find out about securing funding to pay for the restoration of the ‘Acre Cottages’ in Acre Lane.

The cottages, which date back to the early 1800s, are one of the last remaining remnants of the area of March known as Little London - which was said to have been the source of the infamous typhoid epidemic in the 1840s.

Mr Kemp’s vision is to restore the cottages, which have been left empty and neglected for several decades, and turn them into a heritage centre similar to True’s Yard in King’s Lynn.

He has previously attempted to get the cottages listed so they can be saved from future demolition, but sadly failed because English Heritage determined the cottages were in too bad a state to warrant listing.

However, Mr Kemp refuses to give up on the cottages, which he believes should be preserved as part of March’s historic heritage for future generations.

He has launched his bid to get the necessary funding now as the cottages and the surrounding area, which includes the former indoor market has been earmarked for redevelopment in Fenland Council’s Core Strategy Policy - which is currently out for consultation.

“The area has been earmarked for hi-tech light industrial units and retail, but I think it would be a shame if the cottages were lost for that kind of development.

“I think they could make a perfect setting for a heritage centre like the one in True’s Yard.

“We need to do something about it now otherwise these buildings could be lost like many others that have already gone such as Eastwood House on the Neale-Wade Community College site. And once they have been demolished that is it they are gone forever,” said Mr Kemp.

He would like to hear from anyone interested in helping him with his bid to save the cottages.