New leisure centre given go-ahead
12:27 03 March 2011
EAST Cambridgeshire’s new £12million leisure centre was finally given the go-ahead by councillors this week, despite objections from residents.
Plans for the new centre, to be built on Downham Road, have been almost two years in the making and have been the subject of a long-running argument over its location.
At a meeting of the planning committee on Wednesday, councillors voted by a majority of eight votes to two to approve the plans, with building work expected to begin in when conditions have been finalised.
Speaking at the meeting councillor Mike Rouse, said: “I think this is a neat little scheme, it supports the sports clubs on the site and I think they can benefit from it. I believe for a district centre it is well-sited.
Cllr James Palmer, said: “As a member of the district I think this is a tremendous site, I like the design of it and I think it is a real statement building that will make people want to come here.”
According to the plans, the new leisure centre will provide a swimming pool, a sports hall, gym, saunas, and studios.
The concept is said by consultants Carter Jonas to be that of a sports village, with both indoor and outdoor facilities to meet the demand for an updated centre and to provide the basis for future expansion both for Ely and East Cambridgeshire.
The centre will also boast a large car park and will provide transport links into the heart of the city, although it is unclear whether the bus service will be hourly or half-hourly.
Pedestrians and cyclists will be able to access the site via a proposed A10 underpass that will lead directly onto the new site.
At Wednesday’s meeting, councillor Ian Allen voiced his opposition to the plans
“The application cuts across a number of planning policies,” he said. “If the sports centre moves out of the centre of Ely car trips along our roads will take place in far greater numbers.”
Ely councillor Sue Austen, said: “For the people that I represent in Ely what we are going to do is take away their Ely based facilities and give them to the district and they don’t see why that should happen, they are very angry about it.”