22 October 2014
A new report, Breathing New Life into Ely's High Street, published today by East Cambridgeshire Green Party, compares the size, make-up and promotion of Ely high street with other similar historic towns. Key findings include:
Ely city centre has fewer independent shops and more chains than other places looked at in the study. It is also dominated by a narrow range of shops with homewares, health and beauty and clothes making up nearly 40 per cent of shops
East Cambridgeshire district council has cut the amount it spends on promoting Ely and invests less than similar towns in the study
Council plans to allow new out-of-town and edge-of-town development could undermine Ely high street, and risk leaving it hollowed out
Andrew Allen, Co-ordinator of East Cambridgeshire Green Party, said:
"Ely high street is at the heart of the community, but not enough is being done to support it. The council must stop undermining the city centre with out-of-town development and do more to make the high street an attractive and welcoming place with a diverse range of shops. Our research shows that doing this can bring huge benefits to both local people and the local economy."
Rupert Read, the Green Party's candidate for Cambridge at the General Election, said:
"Thriving High Streets make great places to live and work. The Green Party wants everyone to have the shops and services they need on their doorstep. With national and local elections just around the corner, we're fighting for local businesses and to stop chain stores taking over."
Recommendations from the report include:
Improve physical environment
Make space for new shops and other facilities
Publication of the research coincides with final report from the City Growth Commission. This is likely to propose significant devolution of power to city-regions. By considering Ely as part of a 'Cambridge city area' East Cambridgeshire could benefit from better and stronger local governance, able to support flourishing local economies, including of market towns, and preservation of the green belt.
The report Breathing New Life into Ely's High Street is available for download.