Developer approaches Ely sports clubs with leisure village proposal

08:29 09 January 2014

The Ely Outdoor Sports Association club house

The Ely Outdoor Sports Association club house

Archant

A developer has approached representatives of some of Ely’s leading sports clubs to discuss plans for a possible major new leisure village on their land.

The Ely Standard understands that Manea-based developer Richard Sears has been in contact with Ely City Football Club and Ely Outdoor Sports Association to see if they would be willing to make way for a new supermarket, retail park, leisure centre and cinema complex.

The Ely Outdoor Sports Association is based off Downham Road – just north of the A10 – and is home to Ely Tigers Rugby Club, Ely Tennis Club and Ely City Hockey Club, with a squash club and driving range in close proximity.

Ely City Football Club also occupies land near the association.

Mr Sears owns Harrier Developments, the company behind plans for supermarkets in Soham and Chatteris and is understood to offered cash to the clubs and the offer of building new facilities for them elsewhere.

Robert Button, chairman of Ely City Football Club, said: “We have been approached with a very good offer and we will be giving consideration to it.

“Nothing has been signed or agreed at this stage, I think the developer is just looking to gauge interest among the clubs before any planning application is made.

“We will be having a meeting here at the club and a meeting with other members of the association and we will go from there. The developer has not set a time limit on a decision at this stage.”

The land around the sports association is not all owned by the clubs, with the football club renting from East Cambridgeshire District Council and land fronting on to the A10 also owned by the authority.

The district council is still locked in negotiation to bring a cinema complex to the land it owns on the site and also has permission to build a leisure centre, though money for the £15million project has still yet to materialise.

A spokesman for the council said that it had not yet been approached by Mr Sears concerning plans for a leisure village.

A spokesman said: “The district council is committed to helping to deliver a leisure village on the Downham Road site and in recent months we have made significant progress to bring about the multiplex cinema which will be a key component of the development.

“We have not received any planning application for a food store on the site nor have we had any discussions with Tesco regarding building a supermarket on the land the authority owns in this location.”

In November, the district council approved plans for a multi-million pound retail development in Angel Drove led by Healy Investments and supermarket giant Tesco.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Does Ely need another retail park development? Would the A10 be able to cope with the additional traffic? Write to Ely Standard, Alexander House, Fore Hill, Ely, CB7 4AF or e-mail editor@ely-standard.co.uk

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