A former bank building in March will be demolished to make way for new homes and businesses, the local council has confirmed. 

Fenland District Council (FDC) says it has bought the Barclays bank building in Broad Street, for £750,000 with a view to knocking it down as it regenerates the area.  

The purchase was made with a portion of the £6.4 million FDC was granted by the Government from its Future High Streets Fund in 2021. 

Initially, that money – as well as £4.2 million from Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) and £2 million from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) – was earmarked for five regeneration projects in March.

These were: upgrading Broad Street and integrating the Riverside areas into it; upgrading the Market Place and Acre Road and bringing vacant shops in the town back into use. 

But the Acre Road upgrades, which sought to turn the area into an “attractive, multi-use development”, were “deemed unviable following preliminary work”, FDC says. 

The cash spent on the former Barclays building, vacated by the banking giant in July 2021, is part of the £1.7 million which would have been spent on those upgrades. 

The building’s demolition won’t be immediate, FDC adds, as other Broad Street improvements will come first including the Riverside upgrades and highway work which is being carried out by CCC. 

In the meantime, it will be let to Octavius Ltd, the lead contractor on the Broad Street works, which will use the building as a site office from mid-May. 

Cllr Steve Count (Conservatives, March North) said that purchasing the building is a “fantastic opportunity” for March. 

The councillor, who is a member of the Future High Streets Fund Member Steering Group, continued: “Now the building has been secured it won’t fall into further disrepair and we’ll be able to make the most of the riverside setting and enhance the town centre for years to come.”

Cllr Jan French (Conservatives, March South), also a member of the Steering Group, added: “It’s impossible not to see and feel the momentum that is building in March and with this crucial acquisition, another piece of the jigsaw falls into place for the long-term benefit of local residents.”

Other works are either way or already complete. 

The £440,000 March Market Place regeneration, including new street furniture and sandstone paving, was finished earlier this year.