Estate agent defends March market place application which prompted petition
17:32 25 February 2014
An estate agent has defended his plans to demolish a building in the town centre.
Estate agent Mike Ellis, of Chatteris, has applied to Fenland District Council for permission to replace 26 Market Place, March, with a ground floor office and three first floor flats.
A petition has been launched by The March Society to stop the demolition of the 18th Century town centre building that once was newspaper offices.
But Mr Ellis, who runs Ellis Winters estate agency, says the building, which has been empty for two years, is unsafe and restoring it would make no economic sense.
He said: “The building is unsafe. The chimney is falling down and one side of the building has sunk by 18 inches.
“It is very well saying we should keep it but the council has already determined it has no architectural merit.
“There is a hotchpotch of different designs in the building.
“The cost of restoring it would be £300,000 to £400,000 and spending that much makes no economic sense.
“Instead, what we want to do is create a lovely building that will be in keeping with the square.”
Mr Ellis says his plans will create jobs and help ease the town’s housing shortage.
He said: “We employ eight full time and five part time staff at our branch in Chatteris and we would do the same in March.
“Also, the three flats will provide much needed housing in an area where there is a shortage.
“What we will be doing is revitalising an old building that in its current state is dangerous.”
A decision is due on Mr Ellis’ application on March 27.