Court of Appeal ruling welcomed by campaigners as bypass delay drags on
09:02 01 April 2014
Countryside campaigners have welcomed Cambridgeshire County Council’s decision to postpone consideration of the Ely Southern by-pass.
Cambridgeshire’s Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has written to the county council, which now says it needs to examine a recent Court of Appeal judgement about the impact of the proposal on views of Ely Cathedral.
The £30million bypass plan had been due to go before the county council’s planning committee in March but was postponed until a later, as yet unfixed, date.
The chairman of CPRE Cambridgeshire, Michael Monk said, “We welcome this careful reconsideration. CPRE shares the concerns of the Ely Crossing Action Group about the adverse impact of the current proposals on the setting of Ely.
“It would adversely affect views of the world famous cathedral from the approach to Ely, also of views from the cathedral of the wide open fen countryside.
“We do not underestimate the need for a solution to the current traffic problems, which will only get worse over time as the City grows. However, we remain convinced that a better alternative must be found even if it is more expensive.
“It is to be hoped that the county council will use this opportunity in a positive way to solve the problem.”
Last week, the leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, Cllr James Palmer, blasted English Heritage as an “unelected quango” and claimed it would “rather inflict travel misery” on Ely than allow a bypass to be built.
English Heritage has consistently opposed the bypass plans, saying they would be “very harmful” to the setting of the cathedral.
A spokesman for the county council said: “The local planning authority has taken a decision in light of the recent court case to defer the determination of the planning application as it is right and reasonable that further advice is obtained to ensure that the planning committee can make an informed decision on the planning proposal.
“As such the determination of the planning application has been moved to another committee date.”