Boost for Ely cinema and restaurant plans

14:52 29 March 2014

Downham Road, Ely, Cinema Site

Downham Road, Ely, Cinema Site

Archant

Plans for a six-screen cinema and restaurant complex on the outskirts of Ely have been boosted this week.

Developer Turnstone (Ely) Ltd approached East Cambridgeshire District Council at the start of the month with a ‘screening option’ for a leisure development next to Ely Rugby Club, in Downham Road.

A screening option is a tool used by developers to see if a site requires a costly environmental impact assessment, whereby they would be obliged to assess and potentially mitigate the harmful environmental impact of the development.

But, last Thursday, Turnstone was informed that it would not be required to carry out an assessment, paving the way for a full planning application to be submitted in the coming weeks.

Giles Hughes, head of planning at the district council, said: “Whilst there is potential impact, it is considered that the proposal will not have significant environmental impacts within the meaning set out in the regulations.

“Therefore an environmental statement will not be required.”

The decision was made despite advice from English Heritage and Cambridgeshire County Archaeology, which both suggested an assessment should be carried out.

According to plans for the new 15-acre development, the land will be transformed in two phases to accommodate a new cinema, eight restaurants, underpass linking the site to the rest of Ely, and a new leisure centre.

The news comes just a week after a rival screening option to develop the land into a supermarket and leisure complex was submitted by the Cambridge Property Group. A decision on those plans is expected within the next three weeks.

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