Neighbours of proposed community centre speak out about health and safety fears

PUBLISHED: 09:19 10 February 2014 | UPDATED: 09:19 10 February 2014

The furniture warehouse in Chettisham

The furniture warehouse in Chettisham

Archant

The neighbours of a warehouse in Chettisham which a religious group hopes to turn into a community centre have strongly criticised the plans.

The Ely Muslim Association has applied to East Cambridgeshire District Council to convert part of the Aquarius Furniture warehouse, in Chettisham Business Park, into a community centre, where the group can meet and celebrate religious festivals.

But other entrepreneurs located on the business park have spoken out against the plans, raising concerns that the change of use could become a health and safety issue.

In consultation with the council, Gary Hartwig, of Packwell D&S, said: “This site is not suitable for access by the general public, particularly children under school leaving age. There is no pedestrian pathway from the main road to the premises.”

Sarah Carter, of Holloseal, said: “We operate a fleet of 18 tonne lorries with trailers and two forklifts. We are located at the entrance to the park and are constantly using our frontage on to the circular road with both the lorries and forklifts.

“All traffic has to pass us and pedestrians being present at the park would create a significant risk of injury given the constant lorry and forklift activity.”

And Sue Kerridge, acting for the landlords of part of the site, added: “The applicant states a minimum of 65 members, of all ages, would visit the centre on a regular basis and I would be concerned for their safety at this very busy industrial estate.”

The City of Ely Council was, however, content with the plans and raised no objections.

Many of East Cambridgeshire’s Muslim population meet and pray at the Paradise Centre, in Ely, but the group has been on the look out for a more permanent home in the city for a number of years.

In a statement to planners, the group said: “The Muslim community is aware that potentially this application could become controversial but is hoped that the proposal will not cause any adverse issues with the relationship with adjoining users and occupants and that the change of use to this building will be acceptable.”

To view the plans, or to have a say, visit www.eastcambs.gov.uk


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