Car park transformation will benefit residents, visitors and bees, say council

Newnham Street car park in Ely has recently had a transformation.

Newnham Street car park in Ely has recently had a transformation. Pictured using the new seating area on June 20 is Cllr Bill Hunt (R) and open spaces and facilities manager Spencer Clark (L) with mother and daughter Blessing Smith and Christy Buckingham who live in the city. - Credit: ECDC

A car park in Ely will now benefit residents, visitors and bees following a recent transformation. 

Officers and councillors at East Cambridgeshire District Council have been working together with East Cambridgeshire Access Group over the last few months to reinvigorate Newnham Street car park. 

The group is an independent organisation which aims to promote social inclusion through the good design of buildings, facilities and services. 

Newnham Street car park, which links the Paradise Centre with Ely city centre, now has a new woodland seating area with wildflowers, wooden stepping stones and magnolia trees to create a pleasant place to sit and hear the bee's hum. 

Reconfiguring the free car park has added a further three standard-size car parking spaces, three disabled bays next to the seating area for easy access to the city, and five repositioned disabled bays alongside the Paradise Centre where many disabled people access the fitness centre and exercise classes. 

Dedicated parking areas have also been provided for pushbikes and motorcycles. 

Speaking of the transformation, Cllr Bill Hunt said: “We’re really pleased with how we’ve managed to transform this area and make it more accessible for the benefit of residents, visitors and bees alike. 

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“More plants will be added later in the year to tie in with planting schedules.” 

He added: “The fact we live in a rural area means it is vital we are able to provide easily accessible free parking, as well as somewhere for cyclists to leave their bikes, to help boost our local economy.

“Woodland planting in the seating area also helps increase biodiversity in addition to providing the perfect place to meet up.” 

One mother and daughter who have already been benefitting from the transformation is Blessing Smith and Christy Buckingham. 

The pair from Ely sat admiring the wildflowers packed into the new seating area at the car park on June 20 with three-month-old Elora-Sunshine. 

A visitor to the city, Angie Hill from Manea, used one of the new disabled spaces on June 20. 

She said: “This is the first time I’ve visited Ely in six months and now I know these parking spaces are here, I will certainly be back again soon."