Retail development plan will bring ‘millions of pounds’ to town
- Credit: Archant
Plans for a new retail and business park in Ramsey have been given the go-ahead.
Huntingdonshire District Council approved plans for the site adjacent to Tesco on St Mary's Road on Monday.
The applicant, Greystoke Land Ltd, claims it will create 839 jobs and bring millions of pounds of investment to the town.
The council's development management committee approved the proposal unanimously despite it conflicting with council policies relating to building on unallocated agricultural land and building in a flood zone.
The application was recommended for approval by Huntingdonshire District Council officers.
Chairman of the committee, Councillor Eric Butler, said it was "long overdue".
The outline planning application will need to be substantiated by reserved matters planning approval before it can proceed to construction.
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The development is split into two phases. Phase one is for three retail units, four units for restaurants and cafes, a pub, veterinary clinic, skate park and multi-use games area, and a car garage for sales and repair work.
Phase two will be office and employment-generating space.
The applicant claims the development will create 151 construction supply chain jobs, 139 retail jobs, 142 office jobs, and 407 industrial or manufacturing jobs.
The site already has outline planning approval for a business park, and a reserved matters application has been received by council planning officers.
But council officer Will Tysterman told the committee: "I'm informed there is a problem with delivering that permission".
On the application from Greystoke Land, he said: "Officers consider that the scheme outweighs the departure from the development plan in terms of the flood risk and the unallocated development within the countryside, especially given previous planning permission on site."
Ward councillor for Ramsey, Jeff Clarke, said: "It will bring long-awaited jobs to the town which it has craved for decades".
He said it would offer activities and jobs for the young especially.
Addressing a report in the Hunts Post raising the spectre of an increase in crime linked to the development, he said: "I would have thought it would not occur here more than anywhere else in an urban area. I understand from those in the know that Ramsey has the lowest crime rate of any town or village per capita in Huntingdonshire."
Greystoke Land's agent, Andrew Hodgson, said he lived in the town and said: "We have come up with a scheme which is actually what is wanted by the residents of Ramsey.
"We have got a lot of housing going in but we don't have local jobs for people to go to.
"We are not looking to impact on the town centre, we are actually looking to get more footfall to the town centre".
The site is located on agricultural land adjacent to the Tesco, on the north eastern side of St Mary's Road and to the north west of Ramsey town centre.
The agricultural land is designated as "excellent quality".