Special meeting of county council planning committee will decide if £30million Ely bypass wins approval

A map of the proposed bypass route.

A map of the proposed bypass route. - Credit: Archant

A special planning committee of Cambridgeshire County Council will decide on September 8 if the £30million Ely southern bypass can go ahead.

The existing view of Ely Cathedral, from near Newmarket rail bridge.

The existing view of Ely Cathedral, from near Newmarket rail bridge. - Credit: Archant

The decision, if approved, is likely to be met by an outcry by opponents led by English Heritage who fear historic views of Ely Cathedral will be lost for ever.

A 73 page report prepared by the county council analyses those objections in depth, conceding not just the cathedral but the Ely conservation area and Castle Mound will be affected.

Listed buildings in Castlehythe and in Stuntney will also be affected, not so badly, but overall the council accepts “the proposed development will have a large adverse effect on heritage assets”.

But in a detailed, legally based argument the county’s major infrastructure delivery team sets out their belief that the mile long bypass – including a roundabout at each end and two bridges to cross the railway line and the Great River Ouse- can mitigate and overcome objections.

At stake is the future prosperity not only of Ely but of huge swathes of the Fens in a bid to ease congestion and boost employment.

Ely is due for 3,000 new homes and 5,000 new jobs including 800 planned for the station gateway project.

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Soham is set for 2,000 new homes, 1,500 new jobs whilst Littleport is expecting 1,700 new homes and 900 jobs in coming years.

The harm done by the bypass to historic elements of the city is a “major consideration” says the report “resulting in there being a strong presumption against the grant of permission- it means that there has to be a substantial case in favour of it to outweigh that harm”.

The county council believes it has put forward such a case which will determine Ely’s future prosperity and growth for generations to come.

•SEE TODAY’S ELY STANDARD FOR A FULL REPORT ON THE REPORT TO GO BEFORE CAMBRIDGESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL

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