PUBLISHED: 14:00 03 May 2007 | UPDATED: 12:25 04 May 2010
FEARS are growing that Ely s Roswell Lakes could become a giant marina housing up to 500 boats. Residents using the area are worried owner Jeremy Tyrrell has long-term plans to create one of the largest boat parks in East Anglia. Their concerns came aft
FEARS are growing that Ely's Roswell Lakes could become a giant marina housing up to 500 boats.
Residents using the area are worried owner Jeremy Tyrrell has long-term plans to create one of the largest 'boat parks' in East Anglia.
Their concerns came after boating enthusiasts' magazine, Motor Boats Monthly, printed an interview with Mr Tyrrell in which he says: "There is potential for the site to eventually host 500 berths."
But Mr Tyrrell, who bought the 43-acre former clay pit last year and owns Ely's Cathedral Marina, claims his comments were taken out of context in the article.
Cambridge University conservation scientist, Dr Andrew Balmford, who visits the area almost daily, is worried, however.
He said: "Even 50 boats would have a detrimental effect on this area. Five hundred boats would be twice as many as on the marina. Imagine how the site will look.
"Roswell Pits is immensely valuable in terms of wildlife and is used by all sorts of people in all weathers as an important place to escape to.
"This is the cornerstone of the last sweep of nature stretching from the old beet factory into town. If we lose it we will be on the slippery slope."
Worried resident, Robin Aitchison, 42, of Cambridge Road, Ely added: "Five hundred boats would make Roswell Pits one of the biggest marinas in East Anglia.
"This is one of the most beautiful areas left around Ely. The city needs green spaces. They give Ely a quality of life and it would be a real tragedy if Roswell Pits were lost forever.
"There would have to be a huge facility to take 500 boats and there would be security problems and the need for access roads. The place will look like a big boat park."
Mr Tyrrell said: "The quotation regarding 500 boats was taken out of context and related to general discussion on the size of the lakes, extension of the sailing club and fishing club and any moorings we might have."
Motor Boats Monthly news editor, Stewart Campbell, defended his article, saying it was made clear that there was no definite plan for 500 moorings at Roswell Lakes.
He said: "Mr Tyrrell never said that Roswell Lakes would definitely one day hold 500 berths. He merely mentions the possibility, and says that such a scenario, if it were to arise, was a long way off.