September 23 2014 Latest news:
Friday, March 7, 2014
A petition with more than 100 signatures to stop the demolition of an 18th Century town centre building has been presented to Fenland District Council.
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.
The March Society claims knocking down the 18th century building would be damaging to the heritage of the town.
A March Society spokesman said: “This building is in the Conservation Area. It makes a positive contribution to the appearance and character of the historic town centre, to March’s Marketplace and to the conservation area.
“The loss of this building would be a loss to the heritage of the town.
“We ask that the building should not be demolished but restored to retain an important part of March’s heritage.”
The building is the former home of the Fenland Citizen, while its first floor and attic were linked to the Griffin Hotel.
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.
“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.”
A final decision is due on March 27.