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Enforcement notice served on Roswell Pit owner

07 April, 2008 East Cambridgeshire District Council have served an Enforcement Notice on the owner of Roswell Pit. The notice comes into effect on the 19th May, and it requires the owner to permanently remove the hardcore, hardstanding and installed services which have been put on the site. The Enforcement Notice states that the development at Roswell Pit is contrary to Policies 52,53, 54, 67 and 102 of the East Cambridgeshire District plan 2000. To see the Enforcement Notice, click here. To see ECDC’s press release, click here.

The Ely Wildspace SpringClean – Saturday 26th April

07 April 2008 LCPRE are inviting members and non-members to join in with a much needed litterpick across the Ely Wildspace area. The event will take place in the early afternoon on Saturday 26th April. We will meet at 2.15 p.m. at the top of Kiln Lane (off Prickwillow Rd – for a map, click here) and finish at the Ely Sailing Club at Roswell Pit, where tea and scones will be available. Equipment will be provided.

Report of the LCPRE members meeting, 10 March 2008

11 March 2008 LCPRE held a very successful members meeting at the Ely Community College on the 10th March. It was very well attended despite the atrocious weather. The meeting had a dual purpose of updating the membership on recent developments and to develop the Ely Wildspace vision.
Major news included the continuing destructive work undertaken by Mr Tyrrell on Roswell Pit without planning permission and our solicitors advice given to ECDC. The objections made by Cheffins (on behalf of Mr Tyrrell) and Thomas Parsons to LCPRE’s application to protect Ely Common as a Village Green, and the proposal to designate Roswell Pit and surrounding area as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The aim of the Ely Wildsapce is to protect the remaining habitat patches around the eastern edge of Ely from harmful development, preserving it for wildlife and the continued recreational use of Ely’s population. Through small working groups the membership gave valuable input to, and showed overwhelming support for the Ely Wildspace vision. The full meeting report is available here.

Opportunity to comment on ECDC Improvement Plan

11 March 2008 East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) has initiated a consultation process on an ‘Improvement Plan’ which aims to provide improvements in a number of policies and services. This is an important opportunity to respond to the priorities outlined by the East Cambridgeshire District Council including issues relating to sustainable development and the environment in Ely. All responses must be received by 31st March 2008.
Comments can be emailed to or posted to Performance, ECDC, Babylon Bridge, Waterside, Ely, CB7 4AU. They can also be submitted online through
We have highlighted a few points that might be of use when considering your response. Please click here for further information.
ECDC’s Policy and Resources Committee will be held on Wed 23 April at 4.30 in the Council Chambers in the Grange. Further information about the Improvement Plan will be considered at this meeting

Members’ meeting

We’re holding a members’ meeting to report back on developments at Roswell and crucially to get LCPRE members’ views on the vision for Ely Wildspace, from 7.30-9.30pm on Mon 10 March, in Needhams Hall at the City of Ely Community College.The evening will include a short talk about the importance of wild spaces by Robert MacFarlane (author of The Wild Places, recently featured on BBC Radio 4), and an overview by Helen Smith (of the Little Ouse Headwaters Project) showing how one East Anglian community is already managing to conserve its wild areas. All members are very welcome – it’s vitally important that we hear your views.

Continued damage to Roswell Pit

In stark contrast to the sensitive approach being adopted at Queen Adelaide, work at Roswell has, over the past few months, continued to be needlessly destructive. Over the summer a kingfisher nest was reportedly destroyed, and a spectacular water lily bed removed. Since then a new track has been built in the woods – with no permission from Natural England; other work has continued even though previous permission has lapsed; several rusting boats have been left on the Pit; the flower-rich meadow of Ely Common, which had been carefully managed for over a century, has been severely damaged by being mown far too often; and most recently, the owner has been served a warrant by the Environment Agency for dumping household waste (including wire, carpet and plastic) around the edge of his bank-side concrete plinths

Queen Adelaide Settling Ponds/Ely Beet Pits

As many local birdwatchers know, these former settling ponds have developed into exceptionally important wildlife habitat, supporting significant populations of bitterns, marsh harriers, bearded tits, otters and water voles. However, the Potter Group, which acquired the site along with the rest of the former beet factory, faces a serious dilemma: the water is held above ground level but the bank retaining it is inadequately engineered to meet the requirements of the Reservoirs Act 1975.
Rebuilding the bank would be prohibitively expensive. Instead the owners’ consultants have spent over a year liaising with the Wildlife Trust, Natural England, the Environment Agency and RSPB to develop a plan to dewater the main, northern lagoon (so it is no longer classed as a reservoir) while providing new, below-ground reedbeds and open water in the south of the site. They submitted these plans and a full Environmental Impact Assessment to ECDC in December 2007; importantly these documents recognise the inter-dependence of the remaining habit fragments in this area, and hence the importance of securing a long-term future for all of them.
LCPRE and the statutory consultees believe these plans are now close to representing the best possible outcome for the site. Although there will be unavoidable losses to wildlife habitat over the short term, we understand that there will be net gains in 5 to10 years’ time, by which stage the site may be handed over to a local organisation to be managed as a nature reserve. If it progresses as planned, this project will represent a great demonstration of effective environmental mitigation.

Village Green application

LCPRE has applied to Cambridgeshire County Council to have the whole of Ely Common recognised as a Village Green. In many ways this would give it the same status as an official common (which many Ely residents assumed it already had).The application was posted around the site on 10 January 2008. Objections must be received by 21 February. We hope to hear the outcome of the application shortly after that.

Developing the Ely Wildspace vision

Since October 2007 we have been meeting with representatives of both the Wildlife Trust and ECDC to develop and explore the Ely Wildspace vision. LCPRE and the Wildlife Trust have identified key areas, stretching from the A142 along the Great Ouse as far as Queen Adelaide, whose protection we believe is vital if the area’s wildlife and people enjoyment of it are to have a long-term future.