Ask the younger generation
I viewed March Town Council’s Draft Neighbourhood Plan, at the Cromwell Hotel.
What was plainly obvious, and concerned me, is that this plan appears to have been collated by the senior citizens of March, with little regard for the younger generation.
Climate change was hardly mentioned besides a four-line comment, detailing there should be resistance to large PV/wind turbines.
When I asked Cllr Skoulding, who I was challenging about this, and the general lack of opinion in it from the younger generation, Cllr Skolding also seemed frustrated with the comments regarding climate change.
He said they had taken comments from students at Neale Wade, and this is what they had said.
Something must be drastically going wrong for opinions like this. When I asked my son later, who is in year 11, he said he could not remember any such survey being taken. But this is not to say there wasn’t a survey, of course.
The problem is with these surveys, to the younger generation they are, of course, sometimes unimportant.
Political awareness grows with age. But, they are being taught the effects we are having on climate change, and it’s more important than ever to obtain their opinions regarding this – as this is a long-term threat; like no other.
The IPCC report of 2014 – made from 50,492 reviews, 1,729 expert reviewers from 84 countries and 49 Governments – is not wrong.
The next generation, at this rate, are going to have to pass through an ‘eye of needle’ to make the necessary changes.
I think few realise how difficult going to negative carbon output will be. We must find a way of getting their opinions.
If those who were responsible for collating the Draft Neighbourhood Plan fail to get opinions from the next generation, or get opinions that appear to rubbish climate change, then something is terribly wrong with the education system – or we are miserably failing them, and the Neighbourhood Plan is meaningless.
Traffic has been missed
Reading the March Neighbourhood Plan 2015-2030 report conjures up in my mind a town with entirely different aspects and environmental change.
Adding to the remark that March would need additional primary and secondary schools, one might add at least another GP establishment will be necessary.
The former Ogden’s site is ideal for small commercial facilities but I think the suggestion of having big name shops is a trifle delusionary as Marks and Spencers and Next, for instance, and others relate to population size, beginning at 50,000-plus.
As for another supermarket – is it really needed? The population of March stands currently at around 21,000.
An eastern by-pass would be useful, but the cost immense and it would include a new bridge. The majority of vehicles entering the town from a northerly direction are destined for March, anyway.
Hardly a mention is given to traffic infrastructure, especially relating to the town centre where increasing hold-ups occur and will become worse with housing plans for hundreds of homes built on the town perimeters, where else?
This would add dramatically to the evident traffic problem. It is reckoned for every new home add two cars. More free parking areas will be needed and more cycling lanes will be necessary to address safety.
Appropriate councils need to enhance and uprate the existing commercial centre and refrain from increasing commercial rates which, added to increasing rents, will increase more empty shops. A town exists and thrives on the backbone of its traders.
Extra ‘park’ facilities I imagine relates to recreation fields, and not to be confused with March’s excellent and admired riverside park.
The town’s existing medieval infrastructure (Station Road, Creek Road, Dartford Road, Broad Street and High Street) impede traffic movement and I cannot envisage how that can be addressed. It’s a stop-start problem.
To the knockers and constant snipers of our excellent NHS, I would refer to our experience of March 23. We always try to arrive on time or early for appointments and the time of our appointment was 2.30pm.
Catching the busway bus from St Ives we went straight to the clinic at Addenbrookes Hospital, were greeted with enthusiasm had the treatment, a cup of tea, caught the bus back to St Ives and were home in Chatteris by 2.40pm.