Wetherspoon refused permission for £2m Ely pub - too big say planners

Wetherspoon wanted to open in this Grade II listed former boarding house for King's Ely students subject

Wetherspoon had hoped to open in this Grade II listed former boarding house for King's Ely student. Planners turned them down. - Credit: Google

JD Wetherspoon has been refused permission to convert a Grade II listed house in Ely into one of its pubs.

The pub chain bought the former King’s Ely boarding house at 24 St Mary's Street – East Cambridgeshire District Council has refused its plans to transform the building.

It stated the size of the extension being proposed was considered “to be disproportionate to the to its host building” and the pub is too close to residential areas.

Planners also felt there were inadequate facilities for delivery vehicles loading and unloading goods at the establishment and the proposals failed to include any parking.

JD Wetherspoon has submitted plans for 24 St Mary's Street in Ely. Picture: East Cambridgeshire Dist

JD Wetherspoon submitted plans for 24 St Mary's Street in Ely. - Credit: East Cambridgeshire District Council planning portal

A final report by Rebecca Saunt, a planning manager at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “The proposal is considered to be unsustainable and the applicant was informed of officer concerns regarding impact on the neighbours and design of the extension.

“Amendments were requested however no changes were proposed.”

The report explained how the property sits within the Ely Conservation Area and outlined the scale of the proposed extension.

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It said: “The extension leads to a 141 per cent increase of built form on the site out of keeping with the character of this building.

“The height also obscures the rear elevation which has some important features that can be seen from the public realm.

“Additions to buildings should be subservient and not detract from the host building.”

It went on to explain how the proposed main entrance is located on an existing public pathway, alongside the boundary of 22, St Mary's Street which has first floor windows overlooking this area.

Outside seating at the back of the pub was also deemed to “cause significant noise and disturbance to nearby residents” in nearby Chapel Street.

“... it is considered this proposal would cause demonstrable harm to these neighbours, in direct conflict with the [planning] policy,” the report said.

The lack of loading and unloading facilities for deliveries was also seen as an issue as it “would lead to on street parking and the obstruction of the highway” and St Mary’s Street.

It was also stated the proposal’s “failing to provide any form of parking facilities” would put added pressure on street parking and existing car parks which are already at capacity.

JD Wetherspoon said it was investing £2m in the scheme which would create up to 50 jobs.

Plans were first submitted in September 2020 and met with fierce opposition from residents.

The application was refused by East Cambridgeshire District Council on March 3.

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We are very keen to open a pub in Ely.

“We will be reviewing the council’s decision and considering our options.”