Councillors to consider their options over bowling alley conversion

 Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams.

Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

East Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee is expected to endorse plans to move the county’s archives and records office into a former bowling alley next Wednesday.

The committee will meet to consider its response to the plans, which will be determined later this year by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Under the plans, the current Cambridgeshire Archives, based at Shire Hall, in Cambridge, will be moved to Strikes bowling alley, in Angel Drove, Ely.

In a report which will be presented to the planning committee, district council official Penelope Mills said: “The proposal results in the replacement of one community facility with another. The new facility is considered to provide benefits, in relation to the special significance it would have as a county-wide resource and the anticipated number of visitors it would attract. The proposal is therefore acceptable in principle.”

But Ms Mills’ report also raises fears about the number of parking spaces proposed for the facility, which, she said, is a cause for “concern”.

“The level of parking, which falls below the council’s maximum parking standards is of some concern. The reduced numbers have been partly argued due to the specific nature of the use and the amount of floorspace given over to records storage.”

Ms Mills will call for any planning permission to be restricted by condition to prevent a future change of use leaving the facility short of parking.

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Objections from members of the public will also raised at the meeting, with fears that converting the building into an archive will be “expensive”.

One objector said: “The proposed use is inappropriate: it is an isolated and intimidating area; no safe footpath or cycle access; too little space for researchers with too little facilities.”