Church-owned land set for new housing development

THE Church of England (CoE) has been granted permission to build 25 new homes on land in Ely.

Through its investment arm, the Church Commissioners, the CoE entered plans to build a mixture of houses and flats on about two acres of land at Carey Close, adjacent to St Mary’s School.

The site, which also borders the recently completed Cathedral View estate, has been disused scrubland for a number of years and the CoE hopes the venture will regenerate the land and provide fresh income for the church.

It is understood that seven out of the 25 properties will be affordable homes and there will be 954sqm of dedicated public open space.

Developers said in their submission to the council: “The site lies approximately 1.4km from the centre of Ely, but the cathedral is visible from the northern half of the public open space to the east of the site and will be visible from the upper windows of many properties on the site. This is the key to the regional and local identity.”

The land was originally protected from development because Cambridgeshire County Council wanted to keep it for possible future expansion of the school.

An agreement was reached in 2007, however, whereby the condition was removed after talks between the church and the county council.

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Despite gaining planning approval, the Ely Society was less than impressed with the position of the development. They said: “Bearing in mind the proposed expansion of Spring Meadow Infant School, is it perhaps short-sighted to be building houses on land originally reserved for playing fields?”

In consultation with planners, site neighbour Amanda O’Donnell, added: “We do think 25 houses on the land is probably too many properties, considering that this will mean more children trying to get into the already overcrowded school nearby.”