Controversial plans for a £30million bypass for Ely have been revealed by Cambridgeshire County Council.
It is hoped the project will help relieve traffic congestion in and around the city’s rail station and it has been broadly welcomed by residents and business owners. But environmental campaigners believe the bypass, which includes
a viaduct to take traffic over the River Ouse, with a pedestrian walkway, will blight views of Ely’s iconic cathedral and harm wildlife in the area.
However planners insist the walkway, which will be constructed as part of the bridge, will provide views of the cathedral and surrounding area and will connect the Fen Rivers Way and Ouse Valley Way footpaths and improve links to the city centre.
The plans were brought together following extensive public consultation during the early part of this year, which involved exhibitions, a digital fly-through video and numerous drawings.
East Cambridgeshire District council leader James Palmer said: “The new road will not just take traffic out of the city, it will allow us to re-develop the station gateway area turning it into a huge asset for the district.
“While we also know some people are worried about cost, the whole project must be seen in context, for it is estimated that the bypass will save more than two and a half times its cost over its lifetime through reduced congestion. People often tell me they want the road built now – well I think we are making real progress to make these plans finally a reality.”
County Councillor Ian Bates, cabinet member for growth and planning said: “I know well that there is a small number of people who oppose our plans, but I also know there is a significant majority who want us to get on and build this road now.”
The estimated cost of the project is around £30.7million and it would be funded through contributions from the developers, Network Rail, East Cambridgeshire District Council, the Greater Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough Local Transport Body and Cambridgeshire County Council.
The planning process is likely to take 13 weeks with the application likely to be considered this winter.