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‘Visible progress’ expected on HMS Ganges site after conditions agreed

PUBLISHED: 05:25 07 May 2020

View of the iconic mast at the former HMS Ganges site in Shotley Gate. Picture: CLAGUE ARCHITECTS

View of the iconic mast at the former HMS Ganges site in Shotley Gate. Picture: CLAGUE ARCHITECTS

CLAGUE ARCHITECTS

‘Tangible’ progress to transform a former Suffolk naval training base into nearly 300 homes, a sports park, shops and a GP surgery could be seen once the coronavirus lockdown is over.

Independent Babergh District councillor for Ganges, Derek Davis. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNIndependent Babergh District councillor for Ganges, Derek Davis. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Discussions between developers and Babergh District Council planning officers have been concluded five years after plans for the huge project were given outline planning permission in December 2015.

The latest development means that construction work could start immediately, however, due to the coronavirus outbreak, progress has been delayed.

Babergh District councillor Ganges, Derek Davis, said: “From my own personal perspective I have seen how closely our officers and our planning team have worked with the owners of the site and I can imagine that once the lockdown is over and the guys get started, progress will be made very quickly.

“After such a long time I think it will be a welcome relief for a lot of people.

Artist's impression showing the view across a residential street at the redeveloped HMS Ganges site in Shotley Gate. Picture: CLAGUE ARCHITECTSArtist's impression showing the view across a residential street at the redeveloped HMS Ganges site in Shotley Gate. Picture: CLAGUE ARCHITECTS

“I would imagine it will be a number of years before we see the final product but I’ve seen first hand how quickly they can actually make progress once the builders get going.

“HMS Ganges is a little bit different though, because they have to get the spine road in first and do some prep work.

“Its really difficult to give a definitive time scale but once things get going I would imagine that progress will be very visible whereas a lot of the work going on over the past two or three years hasn’t necessarily been seen by the public.”

The HMS Ganges site was initially opened in 1904 acted as a boys training facility for the Royal Navy.

Aerial artist's impression of one of the green spaces earmarked for the former HMS Ganges site in Shotley Gate. Picture: CLAGUE ARCHITECTSAerial artist's impression of one of the green spaces earmarked for the former HMS Ganges site in Shotley Gate. Picture: CLAGUE ARCHITECTS

The site was closed in 1976 and was used as a maaried quarter estate by the RAF.

A planning application for the site was submitted and outline permission was granted in 2015.

An appeal by Woolverstone Parish Council was turned down two years later.

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It was hoped that Developers Haylink Ltd would start work early this year, but their plans were scuppered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was hoped that Developers Haylink Ltd would start work early this year, but their plans were scuppered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Work on the scheme, which would see 285 new homes, a 60-bed nursing home, a large retail space and areas for medical services, will not be started until a ‘spine road’ through the site, which will take the bulk of construction traffic away from main roads, is built.

Mr Davis added: “They have had the last conditions, including the fire hydrants agreed.

“But, because of the lockdown nothing has really moved and I think, even though construction workers haven’t leagally been told they’re not allowed to do anything, the owners are a bit reluctant to move. Once the situation eases a bit there will be tangible progress to be seen.”

Attempts have been made to contact developers Haylink Ltd but have been unsucessfull.


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