Council refuses plans for new cafe in Ely’s Market Street

The former Shoe Tree premises, in Market Street, Ely.

The former Shoe Tree premises, in Market Street, Ely. - Credit: Archant

Plans to convert a former children’s shoe shop in Ely into a café have been rejected by council planners.

Ely businessman Husnu Ata applied to East Cambridgeshire District Council in April permission to convert 31 Market Street – former home to the Shoe Tree – from a shop into a café.

Agents acting for Mr Ata, who also owns Ely Kebab House, told the council that no alterations were to be made to the building, other than the for the provision of ventilation ducts through the existing concealed flat roof at the rear of the property.

The agents also said that any fan unit fitted to the rear of the building would have a silencer to control noise.

But planning officer Rebecca Saunt decided to turn down the plans, saying that it would lead to the loss of prime retail space.


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She said: “The proposed change of use would lead to the loss of a retail unit which is generally resisted in the primary shopping frontage and would result in the concentration of non retail uses in the immediate street frontage, detracting from the retail appearance of the street frontage and would not add to the mix of uses/retailers and the shopping function of the city centre.”

The environmental health officer and the City of Ely Council raised no specific objection to the plans, but conservation officer, Lorraine Brown, said the council had to be careful not to ‘erode the character’ of the area by agreeing to another eatery in Market Street.

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She said: “There is a danger of erosion of character of the area due to a lack of variety in the provision of uses in the town centre.

“In order for town centres to be viable and attractive spaces they need to provide a mix of uses and functions.”

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