Out of Focus

PUBLISHED: 17:39 03 August 2006 | UPDATED: 11:56 04 May 2010

AN ambitious plan to bring DIY giant Focus into Ely with a £7 million investment for the city looked set to be rejected by councillors yesterday (Wednesday). Members of East Cambridgeshire District Council s planning committee were urged to call for more

AN ambitious plan to bring DIY giant Focus into Ely with a £7 million investment for the city looked set to be rejected by councillors yesterday (Wednesday).

Members of East Cambridgeshire District Council's planning committee were urged to call for more information about the effect the store would have on the local road network before agreeing to the plans.

Officers were worried that the Lisle Lane development would increase commercial traffic and impact on the local community.

The council's tree officer and a local resident had also raised concerns about the effect any development would have upon the trees at the rear of the site which form the boundary with Cresswell's Pocket Park.

It has been accepted by the council, however, that the use and location of the development are justified, but it is reluctant to accept the plans as it is likely that the new building, which would replace the existing one, would be larger.

Focus DIY propose that the development would create at least 40 new jobs for customer service assistants, warehouse employees and administrative and managerial staff. The Focus group opens stores principally in smaller towns.

Speaking in May, a spokesman from RPS Planning, the agency handling the application, commented upon the need for this type of investment in Ely. "This level of investment is to be welcomed, being by a national retailer and thus serving to raise commercial confidence generally."

It was recommended that the planning committee refuse the application until more information can be provided.

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