Villagers launch petition in bid to save historic pool at former HMS Ganges site
PUBLISHED: 16:28 28 September 2020
A petition has been launched in a bid to save an historic swimming pool at the heart of a former naval site.
Villagers in Shotley have been disappointed by plans that could see the pool at the HMS Ganges site demolished.
HMS Ganges was formerly used as a naval training facility until the 1970s.
It was later used as a police training facility but has been empty since 2007.
The pool, which formed part of the training centre, has also been empty for some time and has fallen into a bad state of repair.
Work to redevelop the rest of the site into 300 homes, a sports park, shops and a GP surgery has already been given the go ahead.
It had been hoped that the pool could be renovated as part of this new site.
However, a demolition notice for the pool is now in place with locals concerned that they were not made aware of the change in plans by developers, Haylink Limited.
Now, they are looking to raise awareness of what is going on at the site in order to try and prevent its demolition.
The effort is being spearheaded by resident Colin Darroch.
“It had been our understanding that the pool would be redeveloped,” said Mr Darroch.
“In August it became clear it was not happening.
“I thought it was just me that didn’t know what was going on. It turned out most people were in the same boat.”
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Mr Darroch set up a petition to garner public feeling in the area.
So far it has attracted over 1,200 signatures.
“I did hope it would get 200 or 300 signatures,” said Mr Darroch.
“Then I hoped it would get to 500. I am really pleased about it.”
Mr Darroch estimates that in its current state, renovating the pool would cost around £2 million.
“If you look past that you can see what it could be,” said Mr Darroch.
“You don’t have to have a good imagination to see what a facility that could be for Shotley, for Suffolk and for East Anglia.
“Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”
Mr Darroch thinks the pool could also be used to remember those who trained at the naval site.
“It could be a living memorial to them,” said Mr Darroch.
Haylink Limited did not respond to our request for comment.
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