Dentist extracts permission to move to business park

Enhance

Lau Berraondo, the founder of Enhance,: the company has won permission to develop this site at Lancaster Way Business Park, Ely, for a new dental surgery and research centre. - Credit: Enhance

An out-of-town dental practice at Ely can go ahead despite planning officers claiming it should stay in the city centre.  

Planning officers at East Cambridgeshire District Council felt the application was contrary to four key policies.  

But the planning committee resolved – unanimously – to approve the application by Enhance Dental clinic. 

The practice, opened by Lau Berraondo in June 2008, says it has outgrown its base in St Mary’s Street, Ely and can now move to the Lancaster Way Business Park. 

The committee gave delegated authority to its planning manager to impose conditions. 

These include restricting the permitted activities to those detailed in the application: office, research and development, and healthcare services. 

Officers had argued that Enhance is “fundamentally a ‘dentist’ which is considered to be a town centre use”.  

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Its move to the business park would cause harm “to the vitality of Ely city centre”.  

Officials also argued the new practice would have a “significant” shortfall of parking spaces. 

Enhance were described as “predominantly dentists” but with other specialities.  

These include orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, dental implants, mouth rehabilitation and facial rejuvenation.  

Councillors heard the enterprise supports both the NHS and private sector covering mainly north Cambridgeshire.  

New premises would provide employment for an additional seven staff, including clinicians and support team. 

Enhance had said that there were no available properties that suited the needs. 

“Most were dismissed because they were too small; too big or too far from the centre of Ely,” the committee was told.  

Officers claimed the “the loss from a town centre location, would be detrimental to the vitality of the town centre of Ely. 

“And this is supported by the council’s own economic development officer”. 

Planning officers also added that whilst the two-storey building proposed by Enhance was of an acceptable design, its use is “not appropriate for a business park use”. 

However, councillors were in part won over by hearing that Enhance have been searching for premises for more than four years. 

Enhance can go ahead with its new 6,900 sq ft of surgery, research, and development over two floors. 

It told the council that “dentistry has changed significantly in the last ten years” and a purpose-built new HQ was the answer.