Council leader questions Core Strategy for March

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Fenland Council looks set to make a dramatic U-turn over its controversial core strategy plans, which could see up to 450 new homes built in the North of March.

In a surprise statement issued this afternoon Council Leader Alan Melton said he was questioning whether the council has made the right decision in promoting development in this area of the town.

The Core Strategy, which is essentially the blueprint for the growth of Fenland over the next 20 years, sparked massive controversy during consultation with hundreds of local residents from across March objecting to the proposals claiming the town could not support such a major development without improved infra-structure.

In a statement to today’s cabinet meeting, Mr Melton said: “Members will be well aware that, as Leader of the Council, I have always supported and promoted growth and the increased prosperity of Fenland.

“In this regard, I fully support the ambitious growth plans we set out in our core strategy. However, I have to listen to people and to elected members. I take on board their comments, their concerns and their vision for a better Fenland.

“With this in mind, I have been listening very carefully to the concerns that many people and local members have expressed, over the proposed allocation of 450 homes at the site known as North East March, off Estover Road. I share many of those concerns. I therefore question whether the council has made the right decision in promoting development in this area.

“I am therefore asking the council to think again as to whether we should continue to promote this site as an area allocated for growth.

“I am therefore proposing that at a cabinet and full council meeting, to be held in May/June 2013. The Core Strategy will be debated. All of these concerns will be aired, and that I shall be recommending to cabinet and council that the proposed allocation of the site at North East March be deleted. The council will discontinue promoting the site.

“Once that meeting has taken place, and the amendments to the plan agreed, it will be necessary to carry out a comprehensive six week consultation on what will be a revised Core Strategy, so everyone can comment or object to the final document. It will then be submitted to the government for independent inspection. I trust that all members will be backing me and this course of action”.