PLANNERS are still keeping their powder dry over a possible future use for the old fire station site and closed recycling centre in St Neots – though an overwhelming majority of people responding to consultation want a cinema there. But NHS Cambridgeshire

PLANNERS are still keeping their powder dry over a possible future use for the old fire station site and closed recycling centre in St Neots - though an overwhelming majority of people responding to consultation want a cinema there.

But NHS Cambridgeshire also has its eye on the area as a permanent site for the new long-hours 'Darzi' surgery that most of the public seems to believe should be east of the town, somewhere nearer Loves Farm and the proposed Wintringham Park eco-quarter.

A planning brief for redevelopment of the fire station and depot site, off Huntingdon Street, along with adjacent car parking and open space, is expected to be approved by Huntingdonshire District Council's cabinet tomorrow evening (Thursday).

Planners say the site "would be appropriate for a variety of town centre uses, possibly incorporating new community and leisure facilities," which appears to rule out neither the cinema nor the surgery.

In reality, HDC, which owns most of the land, is likely to sell to whoever offers most money to put an acceptable development on the land.

The large majority of the 28 residents who responded to a recent consultation on the issue favoured a cinema, which could be part funded by what is left-of a £1million gift promised to the town by US-domiciled Lord of the Manor Peter Rowley. A minority, however, favoured the surgery, more parking or more shops.

The council's environmental well-being scrutiny panel has told the cabinet that the area "could potentially offer a key site for leisure development".

But the final decision could come down to who pays the most money.