Frequently Asked Questions about the March town centre regeneration schemes.
- How will reducing two lanes of traffic into one lane on Broad Street (northbound) speed up traffic flow?
- Will the town centre be completely closed off during the Broad Street works?
- The town is gridlocked when there is a traffic incident on the bypass. Will the new road layout and roundabout be able to cope with the extra traffic in such instances?
- Why not build another bypass around the town first?
- Will be there be enough town centre parking, particularly for disabled people, if parking is removed from the centre of Broad Street?
- Will there be better shops in the town?
- Where are the new toilets going to be located?
- Will any EV charging points be installed as part of the works?
- Where will the fountain be moved to?
- Where will buses stop?
Got a question?
If you have a question regarding the schemes that isn't answered below, email Matt Wright, High Street Project Manager, at email@example.com
How will reducing two lanes of traffic into one lane on Broad Street (northbound) speed up traffic flow?
We understand that on first inspection, the reduction of lanes might lead to more standing traffic. Whilst taken in isolation this may be true, but the traffic design also includes the removal of all lights at the northern end of the town and replacement with a roundabout. Similarly, pedestrian crossings are being replaced with zebra crossings.
When all of the traffic changes are implemented together as a package it is expected that a reduction in the standing traffic that currently happens today will take place. Standing traffic will be replaced with a more freely flowing, steady stream of traffic throughout the town. While peak times will always be busy, the scheme still allows cars to clear the junction more quickly than under the existing layout, and also allows capacity for future anticipated growth in the town.
Traffic modelling has been undertaken to ensure that this is the case using industry standard assessment tools used by highway designers when making major changes to road layouts and junctions. The modelling relies on real world usage data collected from the town as it is now. This data is then adjusted to anticipate increased traffic volumes due to the growth in the town. This work was done as part of the March Area Transport Study.
No. Access through the town centre will remain throughout the works.
The town is gridlocked when there is a traffic incident on the bypass. Will the new road layout and roundabout be able to cope with the extra traffic in such instances?
If no changes are made to Broad Street, the current congestion issues - particularly when there is a traffic accident - will only become worse as the town grows in future.
The new road layout, with a roundabout replacing the traffic lights at the northern Broad Street junction, will improve the functionality of this junction with current and future traffic flows. Should there be an event causing higher-than-average traffic, auch as a traffic accident, the new junction layout will operate better with higher traffic flow than the current existing layout.
As part of the Government's Future High Streets Fund programme, only town centre locations were eligible for investment. Longer term plans are in place as part of the March Area Transport Study for extensions to the road network around March, however a bypass is not yet necessary and would not be funded by Future High Streets funding.
The Future High Streets funding allocated to March is solely for the delivery of this scheme and cannot be used on other projects.
Will be there be enough town centre parking, particularly for disabled people, if parking is removed from the centre of Broad Street?
There will still be plentiful free town centre parking after the changes and the number of disabled parking bays will increase.
The 14 parking bays in the centre of Broad Street will be removed. The loss of those 30-minute time-limited parking spaces will be partially offset with the creation of additional bays in existing car parks.
The project team anticipates a net reduction of approximately 2% of spaces in public car parks.
There will be two new disabled parking bays in Station Road. An additional disabled parking bay will also be created in Grays Lane to replace an existing bay on the riverside.
The two existing disabled parking bays in Grays Lane and three bays in the Market Place will also be maintained.
We know Broad Street is currently well used for parking, however the current parking arrangements would not pass a modern road safety audit.
It is worth noting that the spaces that are not in the centre of Broad Street are not car parking spaces. These are bus stops, a taxi rank and loading and unloading bays. Areas for these uses will all be incorporated into the new scheme.
Part of the March Future High Streets Fund programme includes a Vacant Unit Activation Scheme which offers grants to owners of vacant shops to help them bring them back into use. This, alongside the redevelopment of the town centre, is aimed at reducing the number of vacant units and encouraging new shops into town.
Plans are being developed to relocate the public toilets to the western end of Grays Lane. This will provide a continued provision of toilets for the town centre and new public space whilst opening up a large area for people to enjoy the enhancements to the riverside area.
The new toilets will include a state-of-the-art Changing Places toilet, which are intended for people with a range of severe and profound disabilities who need specialised facilities when they are out and about.
The underground cable ducting necessary to install EV charging points will be installed in the Market Place as part of the works, ready for installation of EV charging at a later date.
Around 10 metres south-west of the location it currently resides in. The new location will no longer isolate the fountain through roads and fencing and will allow the public to interact with the historic monument.
Two double-length bus bays are included within the plans to allow for current capacity and future growth of public transport.