Traders support Cathedral parking

PUBLISHED: 12:07 11 May 2006 | UPDATED: 13:27 04 May 2010

ELY traders are throwing their weight behind a controversial plan, which could allow cars to park on Cathedral land. The Ely Traders Association believe the scheme, which would provide the cathedral with a rental income and help to ease the city s parkin

ELY traders are throwing their weight behind a controversial plan, which could allow cars to park on Cathedral land.

The Ely Traders' Association believe the scheme, which would provide the cathedral with a rental income and help to ease the city's parking crisis, should be given the go-ahead.

An extra 59 spaces could be created by extending the city's Broad Street car park to the bottom of Cherry Hill Park.

Traders want to see the new spaces created along with a car park at Angel Drove which they hope would move commuters out of the city centre bays.

They are worried that if spaces are not freed up and the council pushes ahead with a plan to close Cresswells Lane car park, any new spaces created at Broad Street could be swallowed up by drivers relocating on the busiest days of the week.

On Thursday and Saturday market days they claim up to 40 spaces at Cresswells Lane are used by stallholders who they fear would probably move to the new parking bays.

Ely Traders' Association chairman, Elaine Griffin-Singh said: "We don't think this is a bad plan. It's a bit of green space in the middle of nowhere not doing anything. This area is land-locked and this is what we wanted, for the council to look at smaller areas here and there in the city rather than to go-ahead with something that requires a massive investment.

"As far as we are concerned, they are going to go ahead with the car park at Angel Drove and that would remove commuters out of the city centre and alleviate some of the problem.

"We have been given assurances that this land will provide free parking and we want to see it go ahead on that basis. We have been given assurances that it will be landscaped to keep it as green as possible. If people are worried about green land being swallowed up, what about all the green land that they have taken to build the thousands of new homes around Ely?

"Whilst green spaces are nice, there is still a lot of green space around, and this would provide revenue for the Cathedral which has to be good."

The scheme to extend the Broad Street car park was discussed in secret at East Cambridgeshire District Council's environment and transport committee meeting recently.

It caused uproar among the Liberal Democrats, who are fighting to save the open space and believe the only way to solve Ely's parking crisis is to encourage more out-of-city parking.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Nigel Bell, who represents Ely East on both the district and county councils, said: "It is unsustainable to destroy historic green space in the city centre for more car park spaces whilst removing spaces from the edge of the city."

The committee rejected the scheme by one vote but because it was such a contentious issue, it has been called back for more discussion tonight (Thursday) at the council's overview and scrutiny committee.

Ely Traders' Association has been invited to put forward its views on the plan during that meeting.

If councillors back the proposal it will go before full council for a final decision.

n Letters - Page 6

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