Park plan makes progress

PUBLISHED: 11:21 06 September 2007 | UPDATED: 12:46 04 May 2010

AMBITIOUS plans for a country park for Ely are moving forward but could take up to 15 years to complete. Landowners between Ely and Queen Adelaide are to be asked to give their permission for public access. Councillors had hoped to raise £500,000 plus to

AMBITIOUS plans for a country park for Ely are moving forward but could take up to 15 years to complete.

Landowners between Ely and Queen Adelaide are to be asked to give their permission for public access.

Councillors had hoped to raise £500,000 plus to buy some of the land needed for the park which would stretch from Cresswells Park in Ely to Queen Adelaide and could include a wildlife reserve.

But the idea suffered a setback in 2005 when their bid for Government funding was rejected.

They have not ruled out the possibility of future funding applications, however, and money could be available from Cambridgeshire Horizons, which is responsible for delivering homes and infrastructure in the region until 2016 and has listed Ely's country park in its green strategy.

East Cambridgeshire District Councillors have also earmarked £7,500 for additional work on a feasibility study and the country park will be included in a master plan for Ely.

Head of planning, Giles Hughes, said: "The next step is to talk to all the land owners concerned and work with them to develop the concept. It is about us developing the idea within the next year. Whether land is publicly or privately owned, it is still possible to include it in the wider country park."

Council leader, Cllr Brian Ashton, said: "We were disappointed not to have won the bid for funding to allow us to bring forward the long-term development of the country park.

"I am sure that many will appreciate that this has been a long-term aspiration and many minor but significant matters of public access have been agreed, for example Cresswells Park, the hard surface walk by the river and considerable improvements to easy access from Lisle Lane."

He added the land is owned by a number of people and has several uses and, if access is granted, it must not restrict owners' activities.

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