Anti-social behaviour, late-night noise and increased traffic among concerns of residents objecting to Wetherspoon pub at former King’s boarding house
PUBLISHED: 16:01 29 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:01 29 September 2020
Concerns about anti-social behaviour, late-night noise and increased traffic congestion are among the objections from Ely residents who are opposed to a former King’s Ely boarding house being converted into a Wetherspoon pub.
JD Wetherspoon say that investing £2 million in converting the Grade-II listed building on St Mary’s Street will create up to 50 jobs.
However locals are urging East Cambs District Council to turn down the corporation’s application - which includes early morning opening and late night closing - as they believe it goes against restrictions imposed by the council when the building was owned by King’s.
Residents say the building, which is surrounded by houses and a retirement home in neighbouring Chapel Street, is in the heart of the city’s conservation area.
Local resident Peter Hazlewood said that ECDC should “comply” within their “own planning framework” and that it would be an “inappropriate building use” to develop it into a pub because “edge of centre developments are required to satisfy and pass certain tests”.
These tests, he said, must prove that “the development would enhance the character and attractiveness of the centre and its locality and not adversely affect residential amenity.”
He added that the “residential neighbourhood already suffers from poor traffic flow and frequent congestion” due to the traffic lights at the junction of St Mary’s Street and the Gallery.
“A large-scale public house requiring frequent and large-scale deliveries and collections is likely to result in the current traffic situation becoming far worse,” he said.
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He also said that while “Wetherspoons asserts that without development into a public house, the property faces boarding up - this is simply not true.
“Ely suffers with insufficient housing supply and, with the growth of the science park in Cambridge, has become a popular location for commuters.
“The property is therefore far better suited to redevelopment into attractive edge of centre apartments in keeping with the adjacent flats and the retirement home behind it.
Another objector, of nearby Columbine Road, said the proposed location would “detract from the area and lead to queuing and littering”.
Another resident, of New Barns Road, said “the noise at closing time would be horrendous for residents trying to sleep” and that “it would threaten the viability of the existing pubs, leading to more empty properties in an already struggling city-centre”.
A resident of Victoria Street added that the plans “will spoil a lovely old building” and cause several pubs close by to”suffer loss of business”.
The planning application includes an extension to the back of the building and the demolition of an outbuilding/garage on the site as well as the installation of ventilation equipment and acoustic fences to be built in the courtyard to minimise sound.
Proposed trading hours are Sunday-Thursday 7am-11:30pm; Friday and Saturday 7am-12:30am. It may also open for an extra hour on occasions like Christmas Eve and Sunday before Bank Holiday Mondays.
King’s Ely bought the property at 24 St Mary’s Street in the 1980s but stopped using it four years ago. It was offered for sale at the end of 2018 and later bought by the pub chain.
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