Support for cinema site proposals

SOCIAL landlord the Luminus Group seems at last to have identified a use for the Grand Cinema site in Ramsey that Huntingdonshire planners can support. They are recommending approval of a scheme for 22 flats, two houses, a public library and public toilet

SOCIAL landlord the Luminus Group seems at last to have identified a use for the Grand Cinema site in Ramsey that Huntingdonshire planners can support.

They are recommending approval of a scheme for 22 flats, two houses, a public library and public toilets in a mostly three-storey development.

The homes would be sold privately, and there is no provision for socially rented dwellings - Luminus's core business - members of the district council's development control panel will hear on Monday.

Twenty-five parking spaces are proposed.

An earlier plan for the site, which was bought by Luminus in spring 2005 from cinema operator Peter Haddon, was turned down the following summer.

Ramsey Town Council has objected to the scheme, claiming it contains too many one-bedroom flats, poor sustainability and inadequate parking provision.

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But planners say the design of the building and its use is acceptable, and the loss of parking has to be weighed against the advantages of having a new community facility in the middle of town.

Councillors are also asked to approve a separate application to demolish the 1930s art deco cinema, No.29 Great Whyte and the adjacent single-storey toilet block in the conservation area.

Planners say the cinema building and 29 Great Whyte are of local interest "but they are not considered to be of such quality that their loss should be resisted provided they are replaced by a development that preserves or enhances the character and appearance of the conservation area. The toilet building is of no architectural or historic interest."

In separate applications planners are also recommending approval of two first-floor studio flats by adding an extension to the post office in Whytefield Road, Ramsey, and building 12 flats on land in Old Station Road. The town council objected to these proposals.

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