Update on Cambridge University Boat Club plans

Cambridge University Boat Club has applied for permission to build a boat house on the land known as Fore Mill Wash. Their plan includes a caretaker’s flat, dormitories for dozens of students, and a gymnasium, as well as a large boat house and wet dock.

We are greatly concerned as this piece of land lies between two parts of the Site of Special Scientific Interest and is inside a County Wildlife Site. It is part of a corridor between the breeding and the feeding grounds of the bitterns, marsh harriers and other birds and is used by otters and water voles. It also forms the foreground for the view from the Wildspace across the fen and is part of the setting for the “ship of the fens”. This is the wrong development in the wrong place, and so we intend to submit a strong objection to the application, on several grounds:

1. As well as a large boathouse and wet dock, the plan also includes a caretaker’s flat, dormitories for dozens of people, and a gymnasium. We suggest that it is entirely inappropriate to build such a large residential development immediately adjacent to a highly sensitive and nationally significant area for wildlife.

2. The planned buildings are inside the river bank on the flood plain and would set a dangerous precedent for extending the development envelope of Ely onto the east bank of the Great Ouse.

3. We are very concerned that the planned mitigation measures are insufficient.

4. There will be substantial noise and light pollution from the buildings, from the car park, from people living on the site and from rowers themselves, often at times of day (such as early morning) which are crucial for wildlife yet when there is little other disturbance on the river. The current proposal fails to quantify this disturbance properly and gives far too little detail on how it might be reduced.

Please look at the plans and make your own views known directly to ECDC. Instructions on how to do so are below. Please also consider writing to the local papers (Ely Standard: http://www.elystandard.co.uk/contact-us; Ely Weekly News: editor@elyweeklynews.co.uk or Ely Weekly News, 27 Market Place, Ely CB7 4NP; Cambridge Evening News: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Submit-your-story/) to make your views known to others.

How to comment on the Boat Club planning application

To see the plans in hard copy call ECDC in advance (on 01353 665555) and ask to be shown them by the duty planning officer. To make comments in writing send them to Planning Dept, East Cambridgeshire District Council, The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, Cambs CB7 4EE, quoting the reference number 13/00067/FUM.

To access the plans by computer, go to the ECDC planning page (http://pa.eastcambs.gov.uk/online-applications/) and search in the lower box (where it says “Enter a keyword…”) for “13/00067/FUM”. You then click on the “Documents” tab and then on the link “View associated documents”. Select the document you are interested in viewing (there are two pages of them!) and click on the “View” button on the top right of the screen. The document should then open.

To make comments by computer you first need to register a password and wait for it to be confirmed online. Go to the ECDC planning page (http://pa.eastcambs.gov.uk/online-applications/), click the “Register” tab, fill in your details, make up a password, and wait for a confirmation email. To comment on the application then go to the ECDC planning page (http://pa.eastcambs.gov.uk/online-applications/), click “Login” and enter your password. Your profile page will appear. Select “Simple search” from the “Search” dropdown menu, and then search in the lower box (where it says “Enter a keyword…”) for “13/00067/FUM”. Then click the “Make a public comment” button, fill in your details, and make your comments. There is a tick list and a space for 2,000 characters. Longer comments have to be made in hard copy.