RAMSEY S landmark cinema is to be bulldozed to make way for a community centre and new homes. A planning inspector has given social landlords, the Luminus Group, permission to develop the site in Great Whyte, providing 22 flats, two houses and a l
RAMSEY'S landmark cinema is to be bulldozed to make way for a community centre and new homes.
A planning inspector has given social landlords, the Luminus Group, permission to develop the site in Great Whyte, providing 22 flats, two houses and a library.
Luminus has welcomed the decision and said it is an opportunity to provide quality housing and facilities which will benefit the town.
However, the campaigners who opposed the scheme, believing it was out of keeping with the area, have described the planning decision as a "blow to the town".
The cinema was built by the Murketts family and opened in 1935. It changed hands on a number of occasions and was bought by Luminus in 2005.
The group's plans for the site were rejected by Huntingdonshire District Council for not being of a suitable style for the market town. Luminus appealed and a planning inspector agreed with the group saying the design was "an imaginative and appropriate response to this sensitive site."
He added: "The proposal...would result in a significant enhancement of the quality of the Ramsey conservation area."
Luminus has said work on the project will start next year and will take about 12 months - although the design drawings and the costs are still being reviewed.
Chan Abraham, Luminus Group chief executive, said the company had worked with county, district and town councils to provide homes and facilities to benefit the community for years to come.
"We welcome the appeal decision for this excellent scheme," he said. "Luminus has a commitment to providing high quality homes and this development is an important example of sustainability."
However, the plans have been fiercely opposed by some town and district councillors, including Ramsey mayor, Councillor Neil Dick.
Cllr Dick told The Hunts Post the appeal had been a "huge blow" to the town council which strongly opposed the proposal.
"It is very, very disappointing that the wishes of the town council and the public have been rejected. National government has overturned local opinion.
"The style of the building is not suitable for the middle of a Fenland market town and we see this as a missed opportunity.
"We are trying to regenerate the town and help support the shops, and I do not think this will help. Unfortunately, this is the end of the line as the appeal process has been exhausted."
Ray Powell, a district councillor for Ramsey, said the development is not in keeping with the area. "It looks more like Spanish holiday apartments," he added.
LANDMARK: Luminus has permission to go ahead with its plans for the Ramsey Grand. These early drawings are an indication of how the scheme will look, although Luminus said its is still working on the scheme.