New plan to demolish Freezer Centre in March and turn into flats and shops

PUBLISHED: 16:56 10 April 2019

Proposed March Neighbourhood Plan.March freezer centre.Picture: Steve Williams.

Proposed March Neighbourhood Plan.March freezer centre.Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

Plans to demolish the former Freezer Centre in March and turn it into shops and flats, has been redesigned, after the last application met with an ice cool reaction.

Proposed March Neighbourhood Plan.March freezer centre.Picture: Steve Williams.Proposed March Neighbourhood Plan.March freezer centre.Picture: Steve Williams.

In 2018 developers wanted to turn the Station Road site into 34 flats, but when neighbours voiced concerns it was turned down, amid fears it would have a negative knock on effect for the town centre.

Now, a new application has been drawn up, this time for 26 flats - a reduction in eight dwellings.

It has also ditched an underground parking idea.

The new plan has 17 flats with two bedrooms and nine flats with one bedroom.

It includes on-site parking for 12 cars as well as storage for pedal cycles and bins.

The drawing includes ground floor shop space which could be sub divided into two or three smaller units if desired.

A design and access statement to Fenland planners says: “Since the refusal, pre application meetings and discussions have taken place with the planning and conservation officers and a parking survey undertaken.

“All of the previous issues have been addressed and the response from the officers has been positive.”

It adds that the design will: “Generally reflect the appearance of traditional buildings in the nearby conservation area.”

The design includes building on two, three and four storey levels, to give variety in appearance, so that it does not look like one big block.

“The very significant reduction in the number of flats, with the removal of the basement car parking, gives a smaller scheme which better reflects the character of the area,” the statement says.

“The rear on-site car parking is screened by walls that have the appearance of buildings.”

There are plan for external security lighting and a main entrance gate, visible from public areas, fitted with an access control system.

The statement adds: “These proposals are a high-quality development, on previously developed, brown field, land, which has a strong presumption in favour of approval and no adverse effects on neighbours.

“The proposals will enhance the character and local distinctiveness of the area and the vitality of the town centre, while providing much needed housing.”

In 2018 Councillor Kit Owen, a former town mayor and planning committee member, said he hoped councillors “flex their muscles appropriately for the town of March” saying it was crucial to get rid of the former Freezer Centre eye sore.

The application is being considered by Fenland District Council planning committee.

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