Council says housing on controversial Ely site is needed to help pay for The Hive leisure centre

PUBLISHED: 18:25 04 October 2020 | UPDATED: 19:18 04 October 2020

Artist's impression of the 13 home development proposed by East Cambs Council on the site of the former Paradise Pool, Newnham Street, Ely Picture; SAVILLS

Artist's impression of the 13 home development proposed by East Cambs Council on the site of the former Paradise Pool, Newnham Street, Ely Picture; SAVILLS


You got a new swimming pool at the Hive – new houses will help pay for it.

That is one argument put forward by East Cambs Council for 13 homes on the site of the former Paradise Swimming Pool, Ely.

City of Ely Council claimed there was no benefit to the city and “rejects the proposed development”.

But East Cambs council responded: “The development provides 13 new homes including four affordable homes.

“It is also part of a redevelopment that saw the provision of a new swimming pool for the town (sic)”.

The district council rejects the city council contention that the area has always been used for recreational purpose.

Not true, says East Cambs, who claim that its policies consider housing to be “the most appropriate primary use for the Paradise Pool/Newnham Street car park site”.

The district council also rejects the notion that “the orientation of the development fails to provide a positive front to the Paradise field”.

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Flat roofs and prefabricated materials proposed for the housing were “not in keeping with the eclectic mix of traditional styles in the neighbourhood,” says the city council.

Not true, says the district council, and besides “new development does not always have to mimic the past”.

East Cambs says the architecture has been developed out of historical precedents such as older half-timbered and lime rendered buildings in the city.

The design “will form a language of a robust brick plinth to the ground floor which will unify the different elements...and articulate the entrances into the individual units”.

The district council sums it up as “contemporary and exciting design which will be contextually responsive and appropriate to the setting”.

The city council claims it is a “piecemeal development” and needs to be part of a master plan for the area.

East Cambs, however, claims the new homes will “not prejudice the future redevelopment of the wider area”.

Dismissing the idea that the scheme does not protect and enhance “the historic environment of the city”, the district council says “views of the cathedral have been a key driver in the design”.

A decision on the application has been postponed until November to allow time for a drainage system for the site to be agreed.

East Cambridgeshire District Council asked its own trading company to bring forward proposals to build on the Newnham Street site and invited Savills to submit the application

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