Conservation status given to Roswell Pits

PUBLISHED: 09:52 29 November 2007 | UPDATED: 13:04 04 May 2010

Ely s Roswell Pits are to be included in the city s Conservation Area. Members of Ely Society and Ely City Council called for the area to be covered under the special designation in a bid to safeguard its future. Councillors had been expected to agree to

Ely's Roswell Pits are to be included in the city's Conservation Area.

Members of Ely Society and Ely City Council called for the area to be covered under the special designation in a bid to safeguard its future.

Councillors had been expected to agree to include only the lake owned by the Environment Agency and not the one owned by businessman Jeremy Tyrrell's company, which has been the subject of controversy over the last year.

But members of the council's strategic development committee decided to include the whole area.

Campaigners have fought to protect Roswell Pits after Jalsea Marine carried out work in the area without planning permission and revealed plans to moor boats on the lake.

But East Cambridgeshire District Council conservation officer, Rosie Burton, claimed that although the area is very attractive and there are views across it out to the fens, "it had no direct views towards the Cathedral" and should not be included.

Ely Society planning chairman, John Baker, said: "We wanted Roswell Pits to be included to protect the area as a whole. Conservation Areas are not only designed to preserve what is good but to enhance areas as well. It gives them a bit of status and everything helps."

Ely Mayor, Cllr Ron Bradney, said: "Roswell Pits is a very valuable and important site to the future of Ely. It would be remiss of the council not to try to protect these sites as much as the law allows.

"To put them in Conservation Areas does not prevent development, but it does force the owners to notify the council of any intention to carry out work such as removal or heavy pruning of trees etc. Being in a Conservation Area also gives greater controls over any proposal that may include demolition; also permitted development rights are reduced."

The King's School, Ely also put up a fight, pleading for its buildings at Barton Farm not to be included in the Conservation Area status.

Through its agents, Cambridgeshire-based Bidwells, it called for the land not to be designated, saying other controls could be put on the area.

But councillors were told that the site, which used to include a smock mill at one time, forms a historic edge to the development of the city centre and has many fine trees along the edge of the road.

She acknowledged that some of the buildings are not of the best quality architecturally in terms of design and materials, but Conservation Area status aims to "preserve or enhance appearance".

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