Ambitious hotel plans given green light

A FORMER office block in Ely will be converted into a boutique hotel despite objections from neighbours.

St Mary’s Lodge, in St Mary’s Street, was the former home of Sanctuary Hereward, but the social housing provider announced late last year that it intended to move in with East Cambridgeshire District Council at The Grange, in Nutholt Lane.

Detailed plans for a 22-room hotel, complete with bar, restaurant, function rooms and leisure facilities, were submitted to council planners in October.

And, yesterday, councillors on the Planning Committee gave the application the go-ahead, despite objections from neighbours that their quality of life would be affected.

Michael and Adrienne Thornton, who live close to the proposed hotel, said: “In a residential area, where it is quiet after 9pm, the noise from a ‘function room’, and the gardens in the summer, would carry far and wide into the night. This would have a serious impact on our quality of life.”

Anthony Hull, of West Fen Road, said: “The arrangements for guests’ off-site parking are unworkable. Traffic on and off-site would increase significantly and there seems to be insufficient provision for this.

“There is a pedestrian crossing right at the site entrance where conflict between vehicles and pedestrians would be hazardous.”

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The City of Ely Council also shared concerns with planning officers about the development, adding that neighbours could be affected by noise from the proposed function room.

Despite their fears, however, planning officers told councillors that the applicant had worked closely with Environmental Health officers and that noise mitigation measures would be put in place.

“They satisfy concerns of officers that the residential amenity of neighbouring residents will be protected,” the officers report said.

The Grade II-listed lodge, which dates back to the early 19th Century, sits opposite St Mary’s Church, Ely Cathedral and Oliver Cromwell House

It served as a residential nursing home until 1993 when it was converted into an office block.