Former Westmill Food site could become a housing estate

Former Westmills Foods site off Angel Drove

Developers are keen to build more than 100 homes on the former Westmill Foods factory site in Ely. - Credit: GoogleStreetView

Developers want to build more than 100 homes on the former Westmill Food site in Ely.  

East Cambridgeshire planners are currently deciding whether an environmental assessment needs to be submitted alongside any formal planning application.  

The factory’s former site, off Angels Drove, has been vacant for 13 years and the buildings demolished by 2012.

Rapleys, a planning consultancy, has submitted a pre-application screening opinion on behalf of developers Godwins Group, which wants to build around 107 homes on the site.

It argues an Environmental Impact Assessment – which outlines the effects the development will have on the environment – will not be required.

The document states the impact the development would have on the Ely Pits and Meadows less than a kilometre away “is not considered to be significant”, even though it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

It also explains a previous assessment into whether the land is contaminated found “the risks were identified as ranging from low to moderate”.

Westmill Foods housing estate

An early site plan of the housing estate developers are keen to build on the former Westmill Foods site. - Credit: East Cambridgeshire District Council planning portal

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“The report also sets out the further investigations that should be undertaken and the potential for remediation work,” the screening opinion says.

But Cadent, the country’s largest gas distribution network, has warned planners it has gas pipes and other equipment in the area of the proposed development.

“... as long as you proceed with caution and in line with the attached guidance the pipes shouldn’t be affected by the work you are doing,” it said.

Christopher Smith, an environmental health officer for East Cambridgeshire District Council, said he may request a noise impact assessment for the application due to the proposed development’s proximity to industrial sites.

He said: “At present it would appear though the closest existing residential property is approximately 35 metres away from the existing concrete batching plant.

“From looking at the proposed site plan it appears as though there may be dwellings in much closer proximity (although these may be commercial floorspace as the plan is not clear to me).”

It is also noted on the council’s planning portal that the proposal would sit outside of the development envelope.

The screening opinion was submitted to East Cambridgeshire District Council on January 19.