Ely coach parking plan approved

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Councillors agree to re-located coach park to Lancaster Way Business Park, but drop-offs and pick-ups will be maintained at Barton Road and the Gallery

East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) has announced that it has approved a plan to secure coach parking for Ely. At the latest Commercial Services committee meeting on June 22, councillors approved the recommendation to enter into a licence to secure coach parking at Lancaster Way Business Park.

In light of the need to relocate coach parking spaces, should the controversial proposed Barton Road development be approved, ECDC has been working to secure equivalent coach parking elsewhere in Ely.

Cresswell’s Lane, land fully owned by the authority, had initially been an option for alternative coach parking and what the council called ‘a swept path analysis’ demonstrated that there was room for the coaches to turn and park in accordance with the proposal. However, after receiving later representations from the adjoining landowner, an alternative location has been sought.

ECDC said the proposed solution of creating coach parking at Lancaster Way is expected to be temporary until the end of 2017. Following this period, it is proposed that coach parking be located at Downham Road, Ely, on the site of the District Leisure Centre complex.

Coaches will still be able to use the popular and well-used pick-up and drop-off points in the Gallery, Ely – something that will remain unchanged – and a coach drop-off and pick-up point would be located at the proposed Barton Road development. This means local people and tourists will continue to have easy access to and from the city.

Cllr Richard Hobbs, Chairman of the Commercial Services Committee, stated: “With the approval of this recommendation, we are continuing to accommodate coaches wishing to park when visiting the city of Ely, and with the proposed plans for Barton Road, we are making sure that there is a convenient and safe spot to drop-off and pick-up passengers to work alongside those already in the Gallery.

“The council’s aim is always to encourage as many people as possible to visit our district. We believe that this is a good solution for tourists, as they will still be able to be dropped off at one of the central coach drop-off/pick-up points in Ely, including Barton Road, should planning permission be granted, and coach drivers will have somewhere safe and close-by to park at Lancaster Way.

“The decision demonstrates that we are a listening council. We haven’t rushed into this decision, but have weighed up all the different avenues to find the best solution. We fully accept that the move to Lancaster Way is temporary, but with the District Leisure Centre complex planned to open in early 2018, it shouldn’t be long before we have everything in place.

“In the meantime, we will be working with Ely Cathedral to inform the coach companies of where to park, providing them with maps and explaining both our short and long-term plans for coach parking.”