06:00 Thursday 09 January 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Another out-of-town development could be on the way to Ely

Written byJORDAN DAY

Ely Market Place. Picture by Richard Patterson Ely Market Place. Picture by Richard Patterson

Mammoth plans are being drawn up to build another out-of-town leisure and retail development in Ely.

Ely News can reveal that Cambridge-based development company, Cambridge Property Group, wants to built a multi-million pound scheme on land off the Downham Road A10 Bypass.

Bosses at East Cambridge-shire District Council (ECDC) say they are “surprised” by the announcement and that it is the first they have heard about the proposals.

But the company says it has been in discussion with “many relevant interests” and that the major plans will be submitted in the spring.

According to the firm, the proposals will include building a six-screen multiplex cinema, a variety of retail units and a swimming pool and leisure village on the land.

But the company is also hoping that Tesco could be swayed to build a new store there instead of on the proposed Octagon Park development in Angel Drove.

A spokesman for the firm said: “We are pleased to make this announcement following initial support from so many relevant interests. We are continuing to have discussions as we finalise our exciting plans.

“The site is best located to serve Ely’s future needs, in particular its ambitious housing growth to the north.

“It will deliver a comprehensive solution accommodating many requirements in one place that the city needs.

“These include the multiplex cinema, leisure village and facilitating Tesco’s relocation, thus freeing up the Station Gateway redevelopment.”

Existing sports and football facilities on the land would be “extended and enhanced nearby”, according to the spokesman.

He said: “We will be bringing our proposals forward early in the spring.

“We are confident that they will be seen as the best and most effective package of leisure, sporting and retail facilities to help Ely flourish and grow.”

Plans are currently underway for another out-of-town development – Octagon Park – to be built in the south of the city in Angel Drove.

The scheme, submitted by Healy Investments Ltd, has been in the pipeline for years and is currently in the hands of planners at the district council.

The proposals, which have proved to be extremely controversial to date, involve building a new, larger Tesco store in Angel Drove, as well as a petrol station, a DIY store, a restaurant, six retail units, a hotel, pub and offices.

Speaking about Cambridge Property Group’s announcement, John Hill, chief executive at ECDC, said: “As the major landowner at this site, we are very surprised to read this statement as we are at an advanced stage with our preferred developer to bring a multiplex cinema there.

“We have not held any talks with the Cambridge Property Group regarding their plans nor received any planning application for a food store on the land the authority owns at this location.”

Nobody from Tesco was available to comment.

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