Shotley: Concerns voiced on latest Ganges plans

Artist's impression pictures of the new development at HMS Ganges, Shotley Gate

Artist's impression pictures of the new development at HMS Ganges, Shotley Gate - Credit: Archant

Two local organisations have spoken out against renewed plans to build on the former HMS Ganges site in Shotley.

Haylink Limited wants to develop the site by building 285 homes, a 60-bed nursing home and a hotel, as well as retail and commercial buildings.

The company had previously submitted plans to build 404 retirement homes on the site but these were rejected and now locals are gearing up to oppose the new plans as well.

Woolverstone Parish Council believes that were the scheme to come to fruition they and other communities on the only main road to Shotley would be left facing the “ruinous impacts” of increased traffic.

Laurie Mayer, a Woolverston parish councillor, said the figures being quoted by Haylink in relation to the volume of traffic were “a complete red herring”.

Mr Mayer said: “At the heart of this application is deception.

“It’s the so called 10% claim – that this latest plan generates 10% less traffic – a ‘material reduction’ on the last plan.

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“This is utterly immaterial and irrelevant because it is a comparison with a scheme that was never built.

“All that matters and what really counts is the comparison with the baseline figure. But that is a comparison the developer does not want us to make.

“What local people actually face is not a 10% reduction but 30-40% more traffic than we have got now.”

The Stour and Orwell Society is also against the new plans, saying it believes the development is unsustainable and will seriously affect the peninsula’s character and environment.

A spokesman for the group said: “The development will lead to an urbanisation of the peninsula and will have a significant impact on people’s daily lives.

“It will also degrade the value of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and will be damaging to ecology and the local environment.

“No consideration has been given to alternative, more appropriate uses for the site.

“The Stour and Orwell Society would support a proposal that struck the right balance between the commercial interests of Haylink and the need to preserve and enhance the local environment and way of life – this scheme falls far short of that objective.”

Haylink declined to comment on the application, on which a decision is expected on November 27.