Archive hub will attract a different type of visitor to Ely

PUBLISHED: 17:09 08 December 2015 | UPDATED: 17:10 08 December 2015

 Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams.

Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

A plan to move thousands of historical documents from Cambridge to Ely has been welcomed for providing an alternative cultural community attraction.

 Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams. Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams.

Plans are in the pipeline to turn Strikes Bowling Alley into a new archive storage centre for the county.

The move has been welcomed as a chance to attract a different set of visitors to Ely compared to those who would use a bowling venue.

“The relocation of the archives is expected to draw 6,000 to 9,000 visitors annually to Ely which could contribute to the city centre economy,” a report by Elizabeth Verdegem, development manager for Cambridgeshire County Council, said.

“The proposed use would be likely to attract a different section of the community.

“It is not far to travel into Ely city centre from this location and visitors to the archive may choose to spend more time in Ely once they have made their initial journey to the area.

“It would create a “cultural and educational facility of county wide significance,” she said.

The aim is to move more than 60,000 items to a new archive storage at Strikes, which would be closing anyway, regardless of whether the archive plan goes ahead or not, the report said.

The loss of a bowling complex, which has been in Ely since the late 1990’s, is not a huge concern to councillors thanks to a new leisure complex that was given the go ahead for Downham Road in April 2015.

Some local residents said they are concerned abut moving the archives to Strikes because Ely is not as accessible as Cambridge, there is not enough study space, a lack of space for school visits, unsuitability of building due to lack of windows and concerns about building security.

Established in 1855, the Cambridgeshire Collection of archives has items including county, city and village histories, street directories, political posters, playbills for theatrical events, newspapers dating from 1762, maps, plans, photographs and pieces dating from the 1680’s, including images of places, people and events.

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