Planners recommend Croylands application for refusal

Croylands, Cambridge Road, Ely

Croylands, Cambridge Road, Ely - Credit: Archant

THE saga over the Croylands building in Ely looks to have taken a decisive turn this week after a planning application to turn it into retirement apartments was recommended for refusal.

Croylands protest.

Croylands protest. - Credit: Archant

Croylands protest.

Croylands protest. - Credit: Archant

Keith Hutchinson - an independent planning advisor - was brought in to oversee the application by East Cambridgeshire District Council at the request of councillors, who were keen for the process to be as transparent as possible.

In his damning report released on Tuesday, Mr Hutchinson said: “Whilst the principle of development on the site is acceptable, the scheme as submitted would be inappropriate, because it would erode the spacious open garden which provides the setting to this significant Victorian building in the Ely conservation area.

The extension would be disproportionate to that existing building, constituting overdevelopment; it would detract from the overall character of the conservation area and it would affect the amenities of neighbouring residents.

“The application does not provide sufficient justification for the removal of trees nor does it provide details of appropriate replacements or the protection of retained trees; and insufficient evidence has been provided to demonstrate that biodiversity and species protection has been properly taken into account.”

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A separate application to demolish the rear of the building, in Cambridge Road, to make way for the 20 flats has also been recommended for refusal.

The final decision still lies with councillors sitting on the planning committee, however, and they are due to meet next Wednesday for the definitive ruling.

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Developer McCarthy and Stone first submitted plans to convert the 19th Century former rectory this time last year but altered its plans on three occasions in the coming months in response to more than 200 objections from residents and neighbours.

Should councillors opt to refuse the plans, McCarthy and Stone could appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

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