Church Commissioners Plan a Massive Housing Development on Farmland at Ely

07:18 Monday 4th July 2011
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PETER SWAN: Residents have two weeks to have their say on plans to build hundreds of new homes in Ely. Land at Highflyer Farm, owned by the Churches Commission, will feature a district centre which will provide shops, community facilities and services. Over the weekend an exhibition displaying the plans was put on show at a local school. I’m pleased to say that Jennifer Orchard from the Quatro Public Relations, who are working on behalf of the Church Commissioners can join us now. Thanks for joining us on the show Jennifer.
JENNIFER ORCHARD: Absolutely no problem.
PETER SWAN: Now tell us about your proposals then. What are we going to be getting in Ely?
JENNIFER ORCHARD: Well we held an exhibition in January 2011, which was for proposals for 500 residential units with a community centre and new primary school. The feedback we got from that exhibition showed that the residents in Ely at that point would like to see wider community facilities such as a food store and district centre in North Ely, and they also wanted an additional access point off Lynn Road, which would reduce the traffic impact on residential streets. As a result, we went and relooked at our proposals, and we were able to incorporate these elements, and that is the revised proposals that we showed at the weekend, and are still out for consultation.
PETER SWAN: Yes. Because this is quite a sizeable development, isn’t it? How many houses in total will this be?
JENNIFER ORCHARD: It’s now going to be 800 residential units.
PETER SWAN: And how big is Ely currently? How many people live there?
JENNIFER ORCHARD: I’m not aware of that information I’m afraid. I can find that out for you.
PETER SWAN: (LAUGHS) But it would certainly be quite a big proportion isn’t it?
JENNIFER ORCHARD: Yes it will be .. it will have an impact on Ely definitely. But that’s why we’re very keen to include wider infrastructure, such as the new district centre and this access point off Lynn Road to reduce the traffic impact on residential streets.
PETER SWAN: Yes. These are proposals that weren’t initially part of the plans but they’re in there now after this consultation.
PETER SWAN: Residents have got two weeks to have a look at these plans. What will happen after that?
JENNIFER ORCHARD: After that we’ll then take on board their comments again, and see if they are happy with our revised proposals, and then we’ll be looking to submit an outline planning application in the Autumn.
PETER SWAN: And all being well then, when will the first digging take place? When will the first house go in? (LAUGHS)
JENNIFER ORCHARD: (LAUGHS) That’s obviously very hard to say, because it does depend on the planning process, but assuming everything goes smoothly, the earliest we’ll be starting building on site will be 2013.
PETER SWAN: And it seems like Ely really has been a boom town over the past decade or so, because I remember, when I was growing up, Ely was seen as a bit of a backwater really. There wasn’t a huge amount going on. But there’s been so much building, there are so many facilities, it seems like a place people really want to go.
JENNIFER ORCHARD: No absolutely. It’s definitely an area that’s growing, and they’ve got a .. the Council themselves have a really good vision for their future that we’ve been trying to work within as well. So it is really a town on the up, and we hope to help them improve this area.
PETER SWAN: And this is land then that’s been owned by the Church of England is it, in the Ely area?
JENNIFER ORCHARD: Yes. The Church Commissioners currently own the land. That’s correct.
PETER SWAN: And do they get .. so they’ll get a certain amount of the profits will they, from this development?
JENNIFER ORCHARD: Well if the planning application gets approved at the outline stage, they will then hand over to a developer for detailed planning. That developer has yet to be selected.
PETER SWAN: OK. Is this part of an overall strategic plan for Ely? Will we be seeing any more developments in the near to medium term?
JENNIFER ORCHARD: Yes well our proposals are in line with the Council’s own Core Strategy, and we’ve been further developing our proposals alongside them … and they’ve been consulting on the North Ely Development Framework. I think there was an exhibition held in March on that, in the Lamb Hotel. And so our proposals, we are working with the Council to ensure they do tie in with the proposals for wider Ely.
PETER SWAN: And is there are chance to maybe look at these plans on line, or do people need to come along and have a look in the town itself?
JENNIFER ORCHARD: In terms of our proposals for Highflyer Farm, there ia a project website available, and people can have a look at the proposals and comment on line until Monday 18th July. And their feedback will be taken on board alongside the residents’ who came to the exhibition at the weekend. If I can just give you the address …
PETER SWAN: Yes, that would be brilliant.
PETER SWAN: And I should imagine if you type Highflyer Farm into Google, you’d probably have a good chance of finding it as well.
JENNIFER ORCHARD: Yes. And it’s flyer spelled f-l-y-e-r.
PETER SWAN: Brilliant. Well thanks for joining us on the show Jennifer. Really appreciate it.
JENNIFER ORCHARD: No worries. Thank you very much.
PETER SWAN: There you go. Possibly a big new development coming up in Ely. We’ll keep you right up to date with that one, right here on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.