OPINION: City centres do not die they are murdered - how the things I value about Ely are slowly being undermined

Entrepreneur Peter Dawe and the flats development plan for Ely market square

Entrepreneur Peter Dawe and the flats development plan for Ely market square - Credit: Archant

Fifteen years ago I abandoned Cambridge for Ely, as the Cambridge planners had destroyed what I valued in Cambridge.

Today I am seeing the things I value in Ely slowly being undermined.

•Attempts to charge for city parking, when out-of-town parking is free and unrestricted

•Reducing city parking through housing and yellow lines

•Restricting the use of the Market Place


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•Building a drive-to “Leisure hub” outside the city, drawing business out of the centre

•Management of the Maltings and Riverside that doesn’t add to community

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•Moving coaches out of the city

•Closing toilets

•Failure to get coach visitors to spend in town

Now I see they are going to wreck any chance of having a vibrant city centre by locating apartments on the Market Square. This will stop any late night use of the square, due to “Noise Nuisance”.

Never mind the sheer overbearing mass of the proposed new building. Further, the whole of the ground floor frontage isn’t being dedicated to retail, gaps in retail detract for the attractiveness to shoppers of a shopping area.

No doubt, parking charges will come up again, whilst new out of-town drive-to centres will spring up along the by-passes.

I have to conclude that Ely city planning is in cahoots with big business, to destroy independent retail and leisure and make Ely a standard chain-dominated city.

I don’t want to believe that our councillors and planners are so stupid to do all of these things “by mistake”.

City centres do not die, they are murdered!

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