'Cramped and contrived' offices refused by planners

A proposal to create a small office block behind this listed building in St Mary's Street, Ely, has been refused

A proposal to create a small office block behind this listed building in St Mary's Street, Ely, has been refused - Credit: Google Street View

Planners refused to allow a two-storey extension to a listed building in Ely to form a new office.  

East Cambridgeshire District Council says the proposal for the rear of 82b St Mary’s Street would be “harmful to the setting of the listed building by virtue of its dominating and overdeveloped nature”.  

Planning managing Rebecca Saunt added that in addition, the proposal would be “cramped and contrived, and would appear to be shoehorned into a site which does not warrant further development”.  

She said the council had concluded the proposal fails to preserve or enhance those elements that make a positive contribution to or better reveal the significance of the heritage asset. 

It was the council's intention to protect buildings of heritage value.  

In this instance the proposed extension to form a new office would be “significantly harmful to the residential amenity of neighbouring occupiers by virtue of its design, scale and location.  

“The proposal would create a significant level of overbearing and overshadowing to the adjacent private amenity areas and would provide opportunities for overlooking not previously experienced” 

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She added that the intensification of the proposed access would impinge on the amenity of the neighbouring occupiers either side of the proposed access through increased vehicle movement and the associated noise.  

"The proposed access to the site is sub-standard and any intensification of use of this access is likely to result in risks to highway and pedestrian safety,” she said. 

A proposal to create a small office block in this area behind a listed building in St Mary's Street, Ely, has been refused

A proposal to create a small office block in this area behind a listed building in St Mary's Street, Ely, has been refused - Credit: ECDC Planning

“The access is insufficient for vehicles to pass one another and creates a risk of vehicles needing to reverse onto the public highway or into the path of pedestrians.  

“There is also a risk of obstructing the junction of Cambridge Road and St Mary's Street due to the proximity of the junction.” 

There were also issues over parking and “the applicant was informed of officer concerns regarding heritage, highway safety and residential amenity”.  

The plans would have seen an extension approximately 6.4m in height and an existing building extended by approximately 15.8m. 

Numerous neighbours had filed objections claiming loss of privacy, parking, access, highways and “visual impacts on the conservation area”. 

The site is located near the centre of Ely and comprises a two-storey grade II Listed Building which houses a hairdresser, beauty salon, tattoo studio and office. The building is on the junction of St Mary’s Street and West End.