Legacy of former councillor and mayor could provide cash for young people from March to go to Oxford or Cambridge universities
PUBLISHED: 15:16 16 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:16 16 April 2018
Permission to build up to 53 homes on the site of the home of former March mayor Patsy Brewin could mean the proceeds being used to send local students to Cambridge or Oxford universities.
Mrs Brewin, who died three years ago aged 84, gifted her Brewin Oakes home to the March Educational Foundation that lends support to young people from the town to study at college or university.
Councillor Kit Owen, the foundation chairman, said Mrs Brewin had a particular desire that the sale proceeds should be used to encourage more students to attend the Oxbridge colleges.
“What Patsy didn’t want was for good capable young people not being fully supported if they were offered a place at Oxford or Cambridge,” said Cllr Owen.
He said that if the planning application is approved and the land is sold for houses it will provide the foundation “with a much bigger sum”.
Brand Associates has submitted the application to Fenland Council on behalf of the executors of Mrs Brewin for the site west of City Road car park.
The application includes the demolition of the existing house and garage but Brand Associates say that the scheme could be amended to enable the existing house to be retained
Some of the large Cypress evergreen snake pattern trees used for screening could be removed “so that they are less overbearing”.
Brand Associates is proposing a mix of flats (up to four-storey) dropping down to three and two-storey with “variations in height….to give more variety”.
They also propose that if the house is retained it could be extended and be an ideal location for a care or nursing home.
“However in the current financial climate for such facilities with substantial underfunding this does not appear to be a feasible option at the present time,” they say.
Brand argues the site is in a “very sustainable location” and so therefore automatically has a “strong presumption” in favour of development.
The applicants are also proposing to allow an agreed amount of affordable housing within the scheme and to make provision for public open space.
Mrs Brewin was, at one time, a primary school teacher at Dartford Infants and Maple Grove. She was also a March town councillor for many years and her late husband, George, was mayor four times.
With George, who died in 2008, they owned a shop in High Street which sold everything from christening gifts, birthday memorabilia, jewellery and wedding gifts as well as running Brewins funeral directors.
Cllr Owen said of her after her death: “She was a real tour de force. She had an air like Maggie Thatcher; she had her own way of dealing with things. People treated her with respect.”
The foundation of which she was a member and supported was set up to make a difference to the education of young people of March and the local community.
Last year it made an award to former Neale-Wade student Stephen Cobb to study graphic design at Norwich University of the Arts.