Survey reveals preferred site for new Ely cinema

A NEW cinema for Ely looks set to be built on land at Downham Road after it emerged as the most popular site in a public consultation.

East Cambridgeshire District Council said that more than 40 per cent of the 542 people who responded to the online survey favoured the Downham Road option, which is also the site earmarked for the new �12million leisure centre.

There was also strong support for the area around Ely Train Station, with 32 per cent of respondents favouring the site, but minimal support from sites in the North of Ely and west of Cambridgeshire Business Park.

In a report to the development and transport committee, which is due to meet today (Thursday), planning officer Sarah Ratcliffe said: “The results suggest that, in general, respondents would visit a cinema more often that they currently do if there was a multiplex cinema in Ely.

“There was a clear preference overall for the cinema to be located on land at the junction of Downham Road and the A10, more than 40 per cent of respondents.”

If the councillors approve the results, council officers will be asked to carry out a series of studies to test the viability of the site, which is owned by the council, before a planning application is submitted.

According to the authority, development could be completed within two years.

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Liberal Democrat leader Gareth Wilson said: “Although we don’t think this is the ideal site, we would have preferred something much more central to the city where people wouldn’t have to drive, the results of the survey are clear.

“I think it is important that, if this site is progressed, that the opportunity is taken to establish a new park and ride service and that any money earned from developers is not ploughed into the leisure centre, which is in totally the wrong position.”