School bows to objectors and withdraws homes plan

The property in St Mary's Street that was subject of the application

The property in St Mary's Street that was subject of the application - Credit: Archant

After a second attempt to get planning permission to build new homes in Ely’s conservation area, King’s Ely governors have bowed to opposition and withdrawn the application.

The school had initially applied to East Cambridgeshire Council for permission to build two three-bedroom houses in the garden of 35 St Mary’s Street.

The application met with scores of objections which cited access problems, loss of privacy, damage to the environment and threat to mature trees in the garden which are subject to protection orders.

City of Ely councillors, district councillors, the Ely Society, owners of adjoining properties in Parade Lane and Silver Street and St Mary’s Surgery next door were among those who objected.

The district council’s conservation officer and trees officer both also recommended refusal.

The site, a stone’s throw from the cathedral, is of special archaeological interest and Cambridgeshire County Council said an archaeological survey would be required before any building took place.

Faced with these objections the school came up with a revised plan for one three bedroom one-and-a-half storey home but this resulted in similar objections and, last week, district council senior planning officer Ann Caffall wrote to objectors to say the plan had been withdrawn.

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The school has said that 35 St Mary’s Street, formerly home of the deputy head and latterly boarding accommodation for overseas pupils, is surplus to requirements.

In its planning application, agents acting for King’s claimed that the plans “do not significantly under or over develop the site and whilst there is sufficient land for turning, parking and amenity space there is no adjoining land that has been excluded that could be later regarded as piecemeal development”.