East Cambs Council abandons city coach park for Lancaster Way site

2.5 miles from Ely Cathedral to Lancaster Way

2.5 miles from Ely Cathedral to Lancaster Way - Credit: Archant

Councillors will agree next week to abandon plans to move Ely coach park to Cresswell’s Lane next to Sainsbury’s and move it out of the city to Lancaster Way.

Lancaster Business Park, Ely.

Lancaster Business Park, Ely. - Credit: Archant

The decision follows a public outcry over the proposals but East Cambs Council says it boils down to an adjoining land owner in Creswell’s Lane who raised concerns about there being sufficient space for coaches to turn round.

The commercial services committee will hear that whilst the council was able to demonstrate “full land ownership and provide a swept path analysis” to prove coaches could turn round, there remained doubts.

“The adjoining landowner continued to raise concerns relating to the parking and turning of coaches and as such officers have considered an alternative location”, says commercial services director Emma Grima.

Lancaster Business Park, Ely.

Lancaster Business Park, Ely. - Credit: Archant

She will tell councillors that in order to allow the removal of coach parking from Barton Road “officers have secured, subject to committee approval, a temporary (until the end of 2017) alternative location at Lancaster Way”.

From 2018 she is confident the coach park can then be moved permanently to Downham Road, Ely, as part of the proposed new leisure development.

Up to five coach bays will be provided at Lancaster Way and these will be “dedicated for exclusive use by the council” says Ms Grima.

Red marks the spot of new coach park at Lancaster Way Ely

Red marks the spot of new coach park at Lancaster Way Ely - Credit: Archant

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Under terms agreed at Lancaster Way the rent payable will be £25 per space per week, amounting to £6,500 a year.

“The licence can be terminated by the c9uncil on four weeks notice,” says Ms Grima.

Other proposals deferred by the commercial services in April- a new cashless parking system for Angel Drove car park and an increase to £70 from £650 for fixed penalty notices- will come back to the committee later.

In April committee chairman Richard Hobbs had defended Cresswell’s Lane but since “we’re not in that much of a rush” agreed to defer it.

He dismissed speculation that the council couldn’t control what to do with the road “since we own it” and felt it was the right place for coaches to park. There was access to a toilet, it was convenient for the city and the supermarket café was nearby.

Among complaints about Cresswell’s Lane was one from Charles Devereux, managing director of Devrail Ltd, who claimed the council’s efforts would deter tourists.

He said: “If one were a visitor from Mars one would be forgiven for assuming that the role of East Cambridgeshire Council was to throttle the prosperity of the city which depends to a significant extent on tourism.”

Former councillor Rupert Moss-Eccardt still wonders if the council had the authority to move to Cresswell’s Lane.

He said it was clear Cresswell’s Lane was a road within the meaning of the relevant acts and he questioned whether the council could arbitrarily create an off-street order there.