How will Ely benefit from Cambridge University Boat Club’s boathouse plan?
IF the Cambridge University Boat Club planning application, to be decided by East Cambridgeshire District Council in May, is successful, my concern will be less about a new boathouse on the river but more about the lack of community benefit for Ely.
I am sure residents will welcome and be proud that the club wants to build in our area.
However, despite the kudos of having a prestigious university rowing club in the locality, I understand that planning regulations will not require the club to make a financial contribution through the Community Infrastructure Levy. This means there will be no financial benefit to Ely.
Is it not, therefore, unreasonable to think that Ely should expect and receive some other form of community benefit if the boathouse goes ahead?
I understand from recent comments made by the club that its idea of community benefit is to offer a lease to Isle of Ely Rowing Club on a parcel of land adjacent to the new facilities.
This is to be welcomed and would allow the Isle of Ely Rowing Club to apply for planning permission to build its own boathouse.
However, from comments posted on East Cambridgeshire District Council’s website, it would appear the lease comes with a commercial value rent.
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For a small local club trying to raise funds for a new boathouse, an unsubsidised rent would be an additional heavy burden.
Should Cambridge University Boat Club’s planning application be successful, and in lieu of the club not having to make a Community Infrastructure contribution, may I suggest it shares some of that privilege and advantage with the Isle of Ely Rowing Club.