St Neots residents object to new cinema plans

A GROUP of St Neots residents is planning to submit an official complaint claiming that lack of consultation could mean a new cinema built just a few feet from the bottom of their gardens.

A GROUP of St Neots residents is planning to submit an official complaint claiming a lack of consultation could see a new cinema built just a few feet from the bottom of their gardens.

The families living in East Street say they feel let down by St Neots Town Council after plans were submitted for an �8million cinema complex by Chelmsford-based developers, Turnstone Estates.

If approved, the six-screen cinema and restaurant village, together with a car park and public piazza, would sit directly behind houses on East Street.

Following a public consultation in February, Turnstones revised its plans and reduced the height of the cinema building on its northern elevation facing East Street.

East Street resident Margaret Cooke who is in the process of submitting a formal complaint to Huntingdonshire District Council as part of its public consultation process into the plans, claimed that the town council had not taken into consideration the effects of the cinema development on people living in the surrounding area.

“This area is too compact and the site is totally inadequate,” she said. “There’s a small group of people who have decided what’s going to happen in St Neots and that’s it. Nobody round here knows what’s going on, and the council are riding rough-shod over us.”

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Residents say some of the land at the back of East Street was transferred from HDC to St Neots Town Council in 2005 with a covenant stating it must be used for recreational or open space purposes.

However, Councillor Bob Farrar told The Hunts Post that earlier this year that “HDC signed a 99-year lease on the land at the back of East Street for use as a car park”.

He said that 25 per cent of the land would be retained for recreational use.

Councillor Brian Allen added that the town council had addressed all residents potentially affected by the cinema through local forums and council surgeries and no concerns have been raised.

“No-one has contacted me or other councillors about the cinema,” he said.

Cllr Allen advised residents who wished to raise objections to the cinema to contact their local councillor.

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