Grand designers forced back to drawing board?
FOR anyone who is superstitious, 13 is regarded as an unlucky number. And for anyone involved in plans to redevelop Ramsey Grand Cinema, the number looks set to continue its ill-fated trend. Planners and architects given the task of regenerating a small p
FOR anyone who is superstitious, 13 is regarded as an unlucky number. And for anyone involved in plans to redevelop Ramsey Grand Cinema, the number looks set to continue its ill-fated trend.
Planners and architects given the task of regenerating a small piece of Ramsey returned with their 13th version of the plan last week . . . only to be given the thumbs down by the town's residents.
At an exhibition of the latest plan for The Great Whyte on Wednesday evening at The George Hotel in Ramsey, one councillor said he would prefer to see the land stay derelict.
However, what was on offer instead were proposals for a library complex to replace the former 1930s art deco cinema, as well as a terrace of 1970s style houses to be built nearby.
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The exhibition organisers, Luminus Group, said hundreds of people had attended.
However, all those interviewed by The Hunts Post, with one exception, said the designs were inappropriate for the town, and clashed with its Victorian houses. They said the plan was "not acceptable" and claimed the people of the town had been ignored.
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They said the biggest disappointment was the town still has no prospect of a community hall - a purpose the cinema served, doubling as a venue for everything from church services to rock bands. On a few celebrated occasions, it even hosted a naturists' club (Cinema Buffs) where people watched films in the nude.
While the plan for the new library includes offices for a range of services, including a learning centre, citizens' advice and job search, the meeting rooms on the current plan will hold only up to 20 people.
INFORMATION: The architect drawings of the development will be on public display in the Ramsey Community Information Centre and there will be feedback forms available for people to let Luminus know their opinion.
These will be available until Tuesday, February 20. Otherwise, to see or discuss the plans, contact Luminus on 01480 428575 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
* The design is due to be discussed at Ramsey Town Council's next planning meeting on Thursday, February 22.
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Ramsey town councillor Evelyn Howard, a mother of three teenage children who was born and grew up in Ramsey, said she was speaking as a mother, not a councillor.
"It's totally unacceptable. I don't think it fits in with Ramsey at all."
She added: "There is absolutely nothing in the town for young people. The library is a waste of space. What we need is a town hall. It's ridiculous, it makes me ashamed to live in Ramsey."
The Mayor of Ramsey, Councillor Ian Walker, said: "I'm disappointed. I wrote to Luminus last year when we saw the first plans which we turned down as inappropriate. The Great Whyte is now the centre of Ramsey. The development should fit in with the conservation area. We have had some horrors in the past but that is no excuse for not having something that fits in with a market town."
Cllr Matthew Badcock said: "It's been designed by people who don't live here and have no interest in the town. I would rather look at the derelict place we are looking at now."
Mother-of-three Karen Gammon, whose husband and father-in-law own Gammons Furniture Shop in The Great Whyte, said: "It's appalling. It's totally out of keeping with the centre of Ramsey, which is a conservation area. This is going back to the 1960s and it will stand out like a sore thumb."
Carol Grosbie, a grandmother of eight from Ramsey, said: "I am open minded. So long as this facility is used and people have access to it, it will be a good thing.
"People are miffed that the cinema closed but we need something there, we don't want to see any more of the town boarded up.