LETTER: ‘I hope councillors will think long and hard about the implications of car park planning proposals’

I was very concerned to read the article in the Ely Standard about the proposal by East Cambridgeshire District Council to build houses and flats on part of Barton Road car park.

It was very interesting that the first indication I had about this was one week before Christmas, a time when many people are busy and might not see the news or be able to reply.

I have not yet had the opportunity of looking at the planning application. However, Barton Road car park provides a very necessary service to residents and visitors to Ely.

Part of it is now allocated for the use of guests of Poet’s house. Another substantial part is used by market traders on two days each week. People taking coach trips for a day are currently able to park at Barton Road car park, to catch their coach and then have their car available for their return the same day, which is often late at night.

The provision of parking in Ely is not generous and Ely, of course, wishes to welcome visitors to the city. It also has to be remembered that the population is rapidly increasing and that one new school has already been built. Many more houses are planned here for the near future.

A car park, providing much needed provision of parking for coaches and cars is not, in my view, a suitable place for residential development. Presumably any new residents there would want parking facilities and gardens. They could soon become disenchanted with the venue, because of noise and pollution from the car park and possibly, as a result the council might then seek to develop the whole site.

Presumably research has been conducted into the number of coaches using the car park over a specified period. If one or two fewer coach spaces are needed, more provision could be made for parking spaces for cars.

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Perhaps consideration should be given as to whether it is reasonable for council employees to enjoy free parking, when that facility may not be available to other employees and workers in the city, and car parking spaces are scarce.

It is to be hoped that the council has thought very carefully about the implications of what is proposed.

If coaches are to have a drop off point in the city centre, there will be more pollution, and possibly more traffic jams. Surely it would be better to keep as many large vehicles as possible out of the city centre.

I also wonder whether the park and ride service is to be re-introduced in the near future.

Ely is a beautiful city. I hope that the council members and planning officers will think long and hard about the implications of their planning proposals.


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