Protests fail to sway councillors as Core Strategy is approved

District councillors have ignored massive protests against plans for 450 homes in March north and approved Fenland’s planning framework for the next 20 years.

A last ditch plea by leading campaigner Trevor Watson opposing the setting aside of up to 80 acres for housing development on the north side of March failed to sway councillors during last Thursday’s Full Council meeting when they approved the Core Strategy.

Six weeks of public consultation on the Core Strategy resulted in a 569 petition, 110 letters and a children’s petition of 42 signatures opposing the proposals for the North of March.

Mr Watson said: “Despite all those objections made, and a five minute speech by myself putting forward the residents’ objections, they did not even bother to discuss the issue. They rejected a request by Cllr Gavin Booth, supported by two other Councillors, who asked that this allocation be deleted from the Core Strategy. All Conservative councillors, overwhelmingly voted to approve the plan with the inclusion of this allocation for housing which also includes the Estover playing field.”

He continued: “To make matters even worse, Network Rail have recently announced, that due to improvements of the rail link between Felixstowe docks and the Midlands, they will be increasing their rail freight movements through March, from 10 movements each way a day, to 24 movements a day each way. Not only that, but they will be using longer units, which for road users of Station Road, will result in much longer and more frequent waits at the crossing gates, which will just cause even more traffic congestion. And Fenland District Council want to add some extra 1,600 vehicles on this road as a result of this proposed housing allocation.”

However, Mr Watson did welcome news that improved sports facilities for Estover Playing Field was included in the plans.

Two football pitches, changing rooms, a cricket oval and, depending on demand and funding, a tennis and multi-use games area could be provided under Fenland District Council’s core strategy.