St Neots cinema plan suffers setback

OBJECTORS to a six-screen �cinema complex in St Neots claimed a victory after the town council voted to oppose the plans.

OBJECTORS to the building of a six-screen cinema complex in St Neots claimed a victory last week after the town council voted to oppose the plans.

Over 40 residents joined developer Turnstone Estates at a heated planning meeting on Thursday (September 15) where the St Neots Town Council’s planning committee voted four to two against the �8 million development on land to the east of Huntingdon Street.

The final decision on whether to approve the planning application, which includes four restaurants and three residential flats, lies with Huntingdonshire District Council. It is expected later this year.

Protestor Margaret Cooke, of East Street, whose petition against the cinema now has 460 signatures, told The Hunts Post: “I am really pleased that the town council has finally seen sense.

“I couldn’t understand how they came up with the idea in the first place.

“The next step is waiting to hear what Huntingdonshire District Council has to say.”

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Councillors heard arguments from East Street residents citing issues such as noise and air pollution, implications to the flow of traffic through St Neots due to poor access from Huntingdon Street, insufficient parking spaces and a potential rise in anti-social behaviour.

In the end, the motion to recommend the application was defeated due to concerns by four out of six councillors over emergency vehicle access in and out of the development from Huntingdon Street, the extra volume of traffic passing through an already congested town centre, smells generated from the proposed four restaurants and failure by Turnstone Estates to provide a 3D model of the leisure complex.

Committee chairman, Bob Farrer told The Hunts Post: “The decision reached on Thursday was the right one in my opinion.

“When they originally said they were going to build on the old tip site that’s what people expected.

“It’s a fair result for what it is. There are 460 names on a petition which means there are 460 people protesting against it.”

Councillor Adrian Usher, who voted against the motion, said: “I want a cinema as much as everyone else and I think that the people of St Neots deserve the same benefits as people in other towns.

“But there are other places it could go.”

Councillor Louie Ruck, who also voted against recommendation of the cinema plans, refused to state her reasons when asked by The Hunts Post.