Shotley: Car fears over Ganges plans

SEVERAL parishes have objected to plans for a major multi-million pound redevelopment of a Suffolk naval base.

Councillors in Chelmondiston, Freston and Woolverstone have raised concerns about a scheme on the former HMS Ganges site at Shotley Gate.

Developers Galliard Homes have submitted proposals to put 285 homes, a 60-bed nursing home, a hotel, offices, shops and community facilities on the site.

But villagers along the B1456 between Shotley Gate and Ipswich are concerned about the scheme’s impact on traffic levels.

Tony Roberts, district councillor for Shotley, speaking before the consultation on the plans closes today, said: “The road needs to have traffic-calming measures in and a roundabout at Freston crossroads. Otherwise it will be dangerous, they’ll be so many cars you will not be able to cross the road.”

But despite his reservations, Mr Roberts, along with Shotley Parish Council (SPC), isbroadly in favour of the scheme.

“Something has to be done at HMS Ganges,” he added. “I’ve looked at the plans and I think they are reasonable. It’s about the best we can expect.”

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Richard Wrinch, chairman of SPC, said: “The vast majority of the village is keen for something to be done. We have had hardly a word against.

“It’s seen as an eyesore and falling down and the mast is a case in point.

“We’re very aware that it affects other parishes further down the road. We have put in various comments about the road and the need for an off-road cycle path.”

Scott Bailey, a spokesman for Galliard Homes, who have already committed to contributing funds towards a cycle path between Shotley Gate and Wherstead Road, said: “You cannot have a site that size unused. There’s always going to be traffic for that site, whatever the use.

“It’s inevitable villagers along that road will see an uptake in traffic and there’s nothing we can do about it, sadly.

“We can keep that increase as low as possible and help out with local investment for cycling and look into – with Suffolk County Council – improvements at Freston crossroads.”

A spokeswoman for Babergh District Council said the volume of responses meant the application is not likely to be heard by its planning committee until late summer or early autumn.

Proposals to build 404 homes on the site, which has laid empty for nearly four decades, were rejected by planning councillors last year.

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