Multiplex plan for edge of Ely gets the go ahead

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A multi screen cinema with restaurants on the outskirts of Ely has been given the seal of approval by planing bosses.

Councillors at East Cambridgeshire District Council have agreed an application by Turnstone Ely Ltd to develop 3.56 hectares near to Ely Rugby Club in Downham Road.

The Ely Leisure Village will cost between £15 and £16million.

This is the first phase of a two pronged development. A further 3.23 hectares are schemed for a leisure centre.

As well as the six screen multiplex run by Cineworld there will be a pedestrian and cycle underpass to link the site to the western edge of Ely. There will be improved vehicle access onto the Downham Road, parking for 380 cars and 104 cycle spaces.

Cllrs recommended that approval be delegated to the council’s planning manager and will be reliant on Cambridgeshire County Council withdrawing highways objections once further information is submitted by the applicant.

The scheme will also be referred to the Secretary of State for possible call in and has a range of conditions attached to it.

English Heritage is concerned that the development will impact on some of the views towards Ely Cathedral and the Ely Society is also concerned at the design and describes its ‘large box shape’ as ‘too brutal and industrial’.

Planners say there is no clear evidence the development would adversely impact on Ely and argue that public benefits outweigh the impact on the view of the Cathedral.

Ward councillor Sheila Friend-Smith said that she felt young people would welcome the facility but expressed reservations that it should not adversely impact on the Maltings Cinema and thriving city centre.