The March Area Transport Study is a study looking at existing capacity and safety problems in March as well as what needs to be done to mitigate future growth in travel resulting from increases in housing and employment as defined in the Fenland Local Plan. It has identified some short term improvements as well as a number of longer term options to improve roads, reduce congestion, and increase walking and cycling in the town. This also includes proposals to increase footfall in the town centre by making it more attractive and accessible. Your comments will help us decide which options to take forward for further design. All relevant comments are welcome.
The March Area Transport Study was set for public consultation using traditional face-to-face public exhibitions between 28 March and 9 May 2020. This consultation was postponed due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown. However, we are keen to press ahead with the study by doing an online consultation now and supplementing this with public exhibitions when it is safe to do so.
We are asking the views of members of the public, local councillors, transport groups and businesses. In fact anyone with an interest in March.
As a result of Government measures on social distancing in response to coronavirus, it was unfortunately not possible to hold the public consultation exhibitions that were scheduled between 28 March and 9 May 2020. To maintain progress we are running the current consultation online and will hold public exhibitions at the earliest opportunity when public health guidance permits us to do so. There is also an e-mail address for the study where members of the public can raise questions, and these will be answered during the consultation.
We will hold public exhibitions at the earliest opportunity when public health guidance permits us to do so. Until then, according to the Office for National Statistics, 92% of adults in the East of England are regular users of the internet so the majority of people should be able to take part in the online consultation.
The March Area Transport Study is funded by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA). Schemes identified for progressing from the main part of study will need to be taken through the business case process to demonstrate that they offer value for money. Funding sources will be identified through the development of the business case.
In the shorter term, we have identified a number of upgrades that can be done relatively quickly in March and these are due to be built over the course of the coming year. These range from introducing new pedestrian crossings, footway improvements, speed restrictions and signage. These improvements will be funded by the CPCA.
We have identified a number of upgrades that can be done relatively quickly in March and these are due to be built over the course of the coming year. These range from introducing new pedestrian crossings, footway improvements, speed restrictions and signage. The schemes in the main part of the consultation have to be progressed through a business case process to apply for funding so building these will take longer.
The proposals for Broad Street are to reduce the amount of space for vehicles and increase the space for pedestrians and shoppers. This involves replacing the traffic lights at the Broad Street / Station Road junction with a large mini roundabout and to do this the Coronation Fountain, which is currently surrounded by traffic and inaccessible to the public, will have to be repositioned. This will enable the fountain to be moved to a more accessible location on Broad Street where it can be enjoyed by the community and visitors and refurbished if necessary. The War Memorial will remain in its current location but will have a more attractive public space around it. The Broad Street proposals tie in with the Future High Street Fund bid (which consulted in April 2020) and the two studies are working in partnership to develop the best option for the area.
You can find out more about the March Area Transport Study, including its supporting reports either in the virtual consultation room or on the Cambridgeshire County Council website - https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/transport-funding-bids-and-studies/march-transport-study
Many options were considered during the study and the schemes that are part of this consultation were the ones that were assessed as making the biggest impact on reducing congestion and improving the whole transport network, while offering the best value for money. Details of all of the options tested can be found in the March Area Transport Study Options Assessment Report on the Cambridgeshire County Council website - https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/transport-funding-bids-and-studies/march-transport-study
March was given the opportunity to submit a bid to the Government’s Future High Street Fund, along with 100 other towns. Bids were to transform and regenerate town centres and are expected to be between £5 million and £10 million. Fenland District Council has now submitted their bid for March which includes proposals to:
transform Broad Street
transform and improve the riverside to make it accessible to more people
transform our market place to make it more of a community space
regenerate the Acre Road area
bring vacant buildings back into use.
The outcome of this bid is expected in late summer 2020. You can find out more information in the FDC Cabinet Report from January 2020 - https://www.fenland.gov.uk/localgov/documents/s5507/Report and Appendix A.pdf
Fenland District Council has created a Masterplan for March Railway Station, which explains future improvements that are needed such as car parking, lighting, waiting shelters, longer platforms, information points and improved access. Information about the Masterplan can be found on Fenland District Council’s website - https://www.fenland.gov.uk/article/13365/Railway-Station-Masterplans
The Combined Authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough awarded funding to Fenland District Council to create a plan, which aims to maximise regeneration of March and its potential as a vibrant place to live, work and relax. Information about Growing Fenland can be found on Fenland District Council’s website - https://www.fenland.gov.uk/growingfenland
The feasibility of reopening the March – Wisbech Railway is being examined in a study funded by the
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and is one of its priority projects. Details about
the study can be found on the CPCA and Cambridgeshire County Council’s websites.