Ely Lay-By Used By Commuters Is Being Closed For Safety Reasons
PUBLISHED: 10:45 27 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:58 04 May 2010
A LAY-BY in Ely which is regularly used by commuters as an unofficial car-park is set to be closed by Cambridgeshire County Council on safety grounds. Cited along Station Road just outside of the city, the lay-by came into use around 1980 after the Ely Hi
A LAY-BY in Ely which is regularly used by commuters as an unofficial car-park is set to be closed by Cambridgeshire County Council on safety grounds.
Cited along Station Road just outside of the city, the lay-by came into use around 1980 after the Ely High Bridge was replaced and the alignment of the A142 was changed, leaving the strip of land unused.
Since then, dog walkers and ramblers have used the space as a casual drop-off or a spot to congregate but highway and council officials have become increasingly concerned over the last 18 months with the volume of long-stay commuters using the site.
A prohibition of driving order was subsequently issued by the county council, pending the outcome of a month-long period of consultation with users of the site.
Despite several objections from local people and an expression of concern from the City of Ely Council, the East Cambridgeshire Traffic Management Area Joint Committee opted to enforce the ban at a meeting on Monday (July 20), stating that "it could not justify the continued retention of (the lay-by) for that purpose at the risk to public safety."
Committee member and leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, Fred Brown, said: "I don't consider the lay-by safe, I think there is plenty of other provision in the city to meet demand and I think closing it is acceptable."
The ban, which will be brought in to force within the next three months, was also supported by Cambridgeshire police, but was greeted with dismay by Cllr Bill Hunt, who told the committee: "I do not believe the safety argument has been established and I and others believe that it would be a disaster to sacrifice this useful asset on the non-proven grounds of health and safety."
Spokesman for Cambridgeshire Highways, John Richards, confirmed to the Ely Standard that legal proceedings would now begin with a view to having the lay-by gated off by the end of the summer. Mr Richards also highlighted however, that the lay-by could re-open in the future if circumstances changed.