Group's anger over pits claim

PUBLISHED: 11:40 13 September 2007 | UPDATED: 12:46 04 May 2010

A LEADING boating enthusiast has angered campaigners fighting to protect Roswell Pits by claiming the wildlife site is really not that important . Mike Mackay, who lives in Ely and edits the Great Ouse Boating Association News, spoke out after printing a

A LEADING boating enthusiast has angered campaigners fighting to protect Roswell Pits by claiming the wildlife site "is really not that important".

Mike Mackay, who lives in Ely and edits the Great Ouse Boating Association News, spoke out after printing a two-page exclusive interview with businessman, Jeremy Tyrrell, who owns one of the lakes.

"All these people who are complaining about Roswell Pits have let Ely become a huge hotch potch of housing and traffic problems," said Mr Mackay. "Yet they get all hot under collar about Roswell Pits when they are really not that important."

Mr Mackay said he was hoping Mr Tyrrell, whose company Jalsea Marine also owns Ely's Cathedral Marina, will offer the association a strip of land for moorings.

"This river system is painfully low in facilities," he added. "Here is a stretch of water that has been sailed on and fished on and I don't see why the main pit cannot have moorings."

In his article, which has gone out to the association's 3,000 members, Mr Mackay writes that Mr Tyrrell sees Roswell Pits as a "countryside marina" which will become a well-regulated mooring.

Mr Tyrrell has upset campaigners by carrying out work at the pits which they fear will damage the nature site and disturb the endangered wildlife.

Now Mr Mackay's comments about Roswell Pits have further infuriated members of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Ely.

Vice-chairman, Liz Hunter has accused him of not understanding the link between housing development and green space.

"Our main concern is two-fold. Firstly, Mr Tyrrell's ambition to develop a hotel and business complex on the site and, secondly, his intention to have a barge for boaters to empty their chemical toilets into.

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