The day has finally arrived for the opening of Ely's largest retail development!

We are very pleased to announce that The Cloisters will be open on Monday 1st November 1999, for shoppers to access Waitrose and the Brays Lane car park.

Work on the 67,000 Sq. ft development, in partnership with Simons Estates Ltd and Aardvark Developments Ltd, started in February this year, and shoppers will soon be able to browse around the first shops due to open before Christmas 1999. Peacocks have announced that they will be the first shop to open in mid November. It is also hoped that Sportsworld and Card Fair will be open for Christmas trading, followed by Iceland and Wilkinsons, who start their shopfitting in November to be open early in the new year along with Savers Health & Beauty.

Councillor Sheila Friend-Smith, chairman of the council, comments: "We are delighted to see this scheme come to completion. The Cloisters will bring more trade and choice to Ely and the district and will be a real boost to the local economy. We would like to thank our partners, Simons Estates and Aardvark developments, and all those who have worked so hard to achieve this real asset for Ely. We would also like to thank the public for their tolerance throughout the inevitable disruption that the works have caused over the past few months, but now we can all look forward to using the excellent new facilities and shops."

Six new retailers have signed up to the scheme and will start trading over the coming months; Peacocks, Sportsworld, Card Fair, Iceland, Savers Health & Beauty and Wilkinsons. In addition to new shops, the scheme includes the new central library, pedestrian walkways, and new public conveniences. The new central library should open in the new year and the public conveniences are due to open in early November.

Mr. Jon Higham, property manager, Aardvark Developments, comments: "We are very pleased to have been the final catalyst to fund, promote and enable the development of this retail scheme together with East Cambridgeshire District Council. All the team involved in the construction of the scheme have worked extremely hard over the past nine months, to now bring a complex city centre refurbishment and new buildings in this historic town towards their final completion.

Aardvark Development Ltd would like to thank the public for their co-operation and tolerance during the construction phase of the works and trust they will soon enjoy the benefits of new shops and the excellent new Ely library.

In conjunction with Oliver Liggins and Jackson Criss, our letting agents, we are very pleased to announce that six of the ten retail units are now let with strong interest being shown in the remaining four units, the shops have all been let to businesses that are new to Ely and should therefore strengthen the City's retail base."

The recent work, which called for a temporary 4 week reduction of 50 car parking spaces, will be completed by the opening date, and once the development has been fully completed there will be nine disabled spaces - a gain of one space over the previous layout.

An interesting public display will be held in one of the front empty units, giving details about the development and showing old to new photos of the site.


The site, owned by East Cambridgeshire District Council lies on the area between Newnham Street, Waitrose and Market Place. The redevelopment project includes The Club Mews and the old Post Office and entails some demolition work.


The council appointed a team of specialists to lead the project:

· Architects & Developers - Simons Estates Ltd & Aardvark Development Ltd

· Archaeological consultants - John Samuels Archaeological Consultants


To strengthen the city's retail base by bringing to Ely new shops and improved library facilities