New trading arm of East Cambs Council points to retail, grounds maintenance and property successes - with city centre Wi-Fi to come

Shoppers enjoying food from Steak and Honour at Ely Market Team's Festive Lates.

Shoppers enjoying food from Steak and Honour at Ely Market Team's Festive Lates. - Credit: Archant

The new trading arm of East Cambridgeshire District Council says it is on target to expand its work in 2017 including building homes at Soham and undertaking grounds maintenance contracts.

And high on the list for next year will be the commissioning of a feasibility study to make Wi-Fi available to visitors and shopkeepers in the centre of Ely.

A pre-Christmas update by the East Cambs Trading Co Ltd is being shared among councillors to highlight progress.

The commercial services section now looks after markets and says there had been “positive feedback” from the recent vegan fair. The festive lates promotion had been successful for Thursday night shopping too.

The report says on grounds maintenance the company had secured a three year contract with Sanctuary Housing from April. Tenders had also been submitted for three schools contracts.

On property development the report says a planning application for 13 homes on council owned land had been submitted for Soham; these would deliver the first Community Land Trust (CLT) homes for the town. Building could start next summer.

The commercial arm had also secured an option to create an extra 80 spaces at Littleport station, was promoting heavily the Kennet garden village scheme and would build 50 homes in Haddenham in association with the local CLT.

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At a recent meeting councillors praised the work done so far with Cllr Mathew Shuter describing is as “very good progress”.

Councillor David Chaplin thought “an amazing job had been done so far” and Councillor Coralie Green thought the markets team had done “fantastically well”.

Her concern was over the impact on city centre shops and questioned what efforts had been made to consult with them. Officials said there were a number of small issues “that would be ironed out”.

On risk chief executive John Hill accepted that with land deals the company was “exposed” until planning permission was obtained.