The former indoor market building in March could be demolished to help stop anti-social behaviour in the area and to send out a message that ‘regeneration is on the horizon’.
A renewed application by the Pegasus Group on behalf of Owen Kirk, owner of the former Ogden’s indoor market, seeks permission to knock down the buildings and put up a 2.4m high perimeter hoarding to keep out homeless people who break-in to find shelter.
In April 2014 Mr Kirk was given permission to demolish the derelict buildings, but he had to start work within three years of the permission and that has now expired.
In a covering letter Andrew Hodgson, director at Pegasus, explains: “My client has experienced significant problems with the derelict buildings despite relentless efforts to make them secure. As you will already be aware from the previous concerns by the ward councillors and town council expressed during the submission of the last application they are regularly broken into by homeless people seeking shelter and have become a focus for anti-social - including vandalism and drug taking.”
Mr Hodgson goes on to say “in addition to removing the anti-social behaviour the demolition would also send out the right signal to the community that regeneration is on the horizon.”
He says: “My client recognises the need for wider regeneration of this part of the town centre and believes this will be an issue the town council champions as part of its emerging neighbourhood plan.”
Mr Hodgson also says the new application has been modified in regards to the “historic cottage” which adjoins the indoor market and is considered to have some “interesting features”. The new proposal will see the cottage remain but with extra security measures and Mr Hodgson suggests Fenland’s conservation officer is keen to offer guidance on how this can be achieved and it could be made a condition of approval.
The letter goes on: “The site is a continuing concern to my client, to March Town Council and to the local constabulary. It is imperative that the site is properly secured at the earliest opportunity and that it’s attractiveness as a venue to anti-social behaviour is robustly challenged.”