English Heritage attacks plans for multi-screen cinema in Ely

How the new cinema site could look

How the new cinema site could look - Credit: Archant

English Heritage has delivered a withering assessment of the plans to build a new multi-screen cinema and leisure village on the outskirts of Ely.

A view of the proposed cinema site

A view of the proposed cinema site - Credit: Archant

David Grech, an advisor for English Heritage, labelled the design of the development “poor” and said it would harm the setting of Ely Cathedral and the historic city centre.

He also said the development would impact on “one of the quintessential views” of the 11th century cathedral.

In correspondence with East Cambridgeshire District Council, Mr Grech said: “English Heritage believes that development of this scale, in this location, would harm the setting of the historic city and would adversely impact on the setting of Ely Cathedral, resulting in harm to the cathedral’s significance.

“The scheme is of poor design that does not create a positive sense of place of enhance local distinctiveness. The harm could be partially mitigated through better design.”

Mr Grech also questioned the need for 10 restaurant and café units and the need for two drive-thru restaurants, which he said should be removed.

Developers Turnstone applied in December to develop land owned by East Cambridgeshire District Council in Downham Road, adjacent to Ely Outdoor Sports Association.

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Turnstone wants to build a multiplex cinema and a series of restaurants and takeaways – linked to Ely by an underpass which will allow visitors to walk under the A10.

Permission has also been sought, as part of the same plans, for a new leisure centre on the site. The centre will feature an eight-lane swimming pool, gym, dance studio, courts and a community room.

The City of Ely Council disagreed with English Heritage’s assessment of the plans, however, saying: “The council welcome this application and are confident that this development will be a major benefit to both Ely residents and those of the surrounding villages.”

A decision on the plans is expected in the spring. To view the plans, or to have a say, visit www.eastcambs.gov.uk

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