Council puts brakes on developer’s supermarket plans

22:52 12 April 2014

Downham Road, Ely, Cinema Site

Downham Road, Ely, Cinema Site

Archant

A development company which announced its intention to build a new supermarket on sports fields near Ely WILL have to produce a costly environmental impact assessment.

Cambridge Property Group wants to build a new superstore, petrol station, warehouses, pub and restaurant at Downham Road, a site currently occupied by the Ely Outdoor Sports Association and home to a football, rugby and hockey clubs among others.

Late last month, Cambridge Property Group entered a ‘screening option’ to East Cambridgeshire District Council to gauge whether its Downham Road plans would require an environmental impact assessment to be carried out.

An assessment requires the company to study the impact its potential development would have on the area and produce a lengthy report detailing how it plans to mitigate any negative impacts.

A spokesman for the company told the council: “A substantial professional team has been appointed to investigate every relevant element of this proposal and its impact on the local and wider environment.

“The extensive amount of work done has suggested that the development will not have a material negative upon the immediate or wider environment.”

But the council was not convinced by the developer’s argument and has now ordered an assessment to be carried out with any plans that are submitted.

In a letter to the group, Giles Hughes, the council’s head of planning, said: “The proposal could result in a significant adverse impact on the town centre of Ely, given that a food superstore and retail park have been approved in principle by the council on the southern side of the city.

“As local planning authorities are required to take a precautionary approach to potential environmental impact, the council consider the impact to be fully investigated within an environmental statement.”

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