More light shed on county council plans to convert bowling alley into historic archive

 Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams.

Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Moving the Cambridgeshire county archives into Ely will provide “significant and demonstrable benefits” to the city – according to the county council.

More light was shed this week on Cambridgeshire County Council’s plans to take over the Strikes Bowling facility, in Angel Drove, with the submission of a planning application.

The county council has agreed to take on the lease of the site, which measures about 1.5 acres, if it secures planning permission for a new archive and public records office.

The 300-year lease of the land, which expires in 2295, is held by SGBD Property Holdings but the freehold belongs to East Cambridgeshire District Council.

If successful, the county council plans to use the building to house the Cambridgeshire Collection, the public archives and the Ely Registration Office – allowing marriages and civil partnerships to be carried out.

Space will also be set aside for the county’s children, adults and families service, with 100 jobs potentially moving to the facility.

In its plans, agents acting for the county council said the development would bring an additional 6-9,000 visitors to Ely.

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The agents added: “At present, related county council services, such as the records office and the Cambridgeshire Collection are located in separate and dispersed buildings.

“By bringing both services under a single roof, researchers and visitors can more conveniently access the material they need without having to make multiple journeys between different locations.

“In addition, bringing the children, families and adult services department alongside the Ely Registration Office into the same building will help the council to achieve good value for the taxpayer.”

Around 20 jobs have been placed at risk at the bowling alley and adjoining Planet Zoom play facility as a result of the council’s plans. Bookings are still being taken and both facilities will remain open until the summer.

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