Developer fires first shot in war over new Tesco supermarket for Ely

Ely Tigers Rugby Club

Ely Tigers Rugby Club - Credit: Archant

Rival sites for a Tesco superstore form the backdrop to decisions which will face East Cambridgeshire District Council over coming months.

Entrepreneur Richard Sears – whose most recent project for a Tesco store at Chatteris is nearing completion- is behind plans to incorporate the supermarket giant’s new store into a 39 acre site on Downham Road.

Mr Sears, who has also won consent for an out of town supermarket at Soham, has used his Cambridge Property Group plc company in submissions to the council prior to a full application.

He has already held talks with both Ely City Football Club and other sports clubs in the area about purchasing their land to make way for the supermarket.

Tesco could be faced with the choice of either moving to Downham Road, should Mr Sears win planning permission, or to Angel Drove, which has an existing consent for relocating the store.

Complex assessments are now with the council from Cambridge Property Group including traffic measures which they say will “replace and substantially improve” the existing infrastructure. They promised the end result will be “a significant benefit to the city”.

A planning application is expected soon for not only Tesco but for six retail outlets and a restaurant on the Downham Road site.

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A spokesman for Cambridge Property Group said: “Our proposals deliver such a wide range of benefits for numerous communities across Ely and for its economy that we see every reason for the council to support it”.

“With the superstore designed only to accommodate Tesco’s relocation from the station into larger premises, it will be able to provide that retailers’ full offer, but locally.

“As this is an alternative to the Octagon Park proposals at Angel Drove, the council has already accepted there will be no significant adverse effects on the Ely’s centre.”

The group also said that plans put forward for a cinema and restaurant on the Downham Road site would complement their plans and make both “more viable”.

The spokesman added: “Our proposals complement the council’s partner Turnstone’s cinema proposals on adjoining land and can only add to that scheme’s footfall helping make it more viable and attractive.”

Several sports clubs, including Ely City Football Club and Ely Tigers Rugby Club currently occupy the land Cambridge Property Group is interested in but it has promised to find the clubs a new home before any supermarket work begins.

It added: “We are working up proposals for the Football Club and EOSA to relocate to much enhanced facilities nearby. Those would be up and running before any work starts on site.”