Boots see a future for former Starbucks coffee shop as they prepare to open an optician’s outlet in the town centre

The former Starbucks outlet, in Ely.

The former Starbucks outlet, in Ely. - Credit: Archant

A planning application by national retailer Boots to move into a Grade II-listed former coffee shop in Ely has been approved.

The cosmetics and pharmaceuticals giant applied to East Cambridgeshire District Council back in December to convert the former Starbucks outlet, in High Street, into a specialist opticians and hearing aid centre.

And, this week, planning officer Lorraine Brown gave the plans the all clear, paving the way for Boots to move in.

In her report on the application, she said: “The main consideration when determining this application is the impact on the character or appearance of the listed building within the conservation area.

“Overall, the alterations to the existing shop fronts are minimal in nature and will not fundamentally alter the character or appearance of the building.”

The decision comes just a week after the district council’s town centre’s team raised concerns that, if approved, scaffolding will have to be erected, which could result in market traders being forced off their pitches for a number of weeks.

In a letter to the district council, Julia Davis, said: “We are concerned that any exterior works and scaffolding associated with this property will have an adverse affect on our weekly markets.

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“It will probably mean the loss of two or three regular market pitches which obviously has a financial loss for us as market operator and for our regular traders losing their pitch and livelihood for the duration of the works being carried out.”

According to its plans, Boots has applied to put up two fascia boards and two hanging “heritage” signs outside the shop, which also fronts on to Dolphin Lane.

Plans to expand the High Street entrance and install an exit on to Dolphin Lane are also included in the plans.

Starbucks moved out of Ely back in September 2012, stating that it was not generating enough profit from the branch.