Work to give Steeple Row in Ely a makeover which will see the area transformed into an elegant walkway and seating area is due to start on 19 April.
East Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council are working on a joint initiative to renovate the area which runs alongside Ely Cathedral’s Cross Green and is backed onto by a number of High Street businesses.
The work is being funded by a grant from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s Market Town Programme Fund and a contribution from County Highways. It will include lighting up the mature lime trees which line the walkway to make the area safer in the evening, refurbishing the existing uneven York stone pathway and adding new seating areas.
Businesses that use the area will also be encouraged to store unsightly commercial wheelie bins in a bin store, which is also being improved with new doors and lighting.
Councillor Julia Huffer, Chair of the Operational Services Committee at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said:
“Since the start of the COVID pandemic, outdoor dining has become increasingly popular, with three businesses now using the area for this purpose.
“Historically the pathway has been used by businesses to store their commercial wheelie bins, but we hope the new improvements to the area, combined with an upgrade to the existing bin store, will transform it into a pleasant place for residents and visitors to enjoy.”
To ensure the project is as environmentally friendly as possible, all of the original pavers will be lifted and cleaned, and as many as possible will be reused. A new section of pavers will be laid around the arched Sacrist’s Gate area, leading to the High Street.
The existing streetlights will be repainted and new benches and bins will be installed, along with new solar lighting within the bin store.
The works are scheduled for eight weeks, during which time the footpath will be closed with limited or no access.
The project, which sits within a Conversation area has received support and backing from Ely Cathedral. Surveys have also been carried out to ensure no bats or trees are harmed during the process or affected by the up lighting of the trees.
The poorly lit area has been a source of continued concern for many organisations including City of Ely Council, the Ely Society and Ely Perspective.