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10:29 april 9, 2022
An out-of-town dental practice in Ely can go ahead despite planning officers saying it should stay in the city centre.
East Cambridgeshire District Council planning officers found the request to be contrary to four key policies.
But the planning committee decided – unanimously – to approve the application from the Enhance Dental clinic.
The practice, opened by Lau Berraondo in June 2008, says it has outgrown its base in St Mary’s Street, Ely, and can now move to Lancaster Way Business Park.
The committee has delegated to its planning director the power to impose conditions.
These include restricting permitted activities to those detailed in the application: office, research and development, and health services.
Officers had argued that Enhance was “basically a ‘dentist’ who is considered downtown use.”
Moving it to the business park would harm “the vitality of Ely town centre”.
Officials also argued that the new practice would lead to a “significant” shortage of parking spaces.
Enhance were described as “mainly dentists”, but with other specialties.
These include orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, dental implants, mouth rehabilitation and facial rejuvenation.
Advisers were told the company supports both the NHS and the private sector mainly covering North Cambridgeshire.
The new premises would provide employment for seven additional staff, including clinicians and a support team.
Enhance had stated that there were no properties available that met the needs.
“Most were fired because they were too young; too big or too far from the center of Ely,” the committee was told.
Officers claimed that “the loss of a town center location would be detrimental to the vitality of Ely town centre.
“And this is supported by the council’s own economic development officer.”
Planning officers also added that while the two-storey building proposed by Enhance was of an acceptable design, its use is “not appropriate for a business park”.
However, councilors were partly won over when they learned that Enhance had been looking for premises for more than four years.
Enhance can move forward with its new 6,900 square feet of surgery, research and development on two floors.
He told the board that “dentistry has changed dramatically over the last ten years” and a new purpose-built chair was the answer.