Shotley: D-day arrives for proposed Ganges homes

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

A proposal to build nearly 300 homes on the site of the former HMS Ganges training centre at Shotley Gate is to be debated by councillors on Wednesday.

Members of Babergh Council’s planning committee are being advised to give officers the authority to approve the development so long as a number of planning conditions are met.

These include retaining and restoring the iconic Ganges mast as part of a £2.5 million package of heritage improvements to the site and spending a further £1 million on infrastructure improvements to the Shotley peninsula, including a £437,000 investment in schools in the area and changes to the roads and public transport network on the peninsula.

A total of 285 homes would be built alongside a 60-bed nursing home. There would also be a doctors’ surgery, vets’ surgery, offices, a convenience store, and a new hotel. The scheme has been proposed by developers Haylink.

The development includes 57 “retirement” homes for people aged more than 55 and 228 homes for sale on the open market – all the homes would be prepared for the arrival of high-speed broadband.

Because of the difficulties with the site and the need to carry out improvements to the area, there is not going to be any requirement for the developers to build any “affordable” homes as part of the scheme.

The proposal is a replacement for an earlier scheme which proposed to build 404 homes on the site. That was rejected as being too intensive a development for a rural area.

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The new application will be debated by members of Babergh’s planning committee at the council offices in Hadleigh.

The debate is expected to take all morning – other items on the agenda are not due to start until 1.15pm at the earliest.

HMS Ganges, the naval training centre, closed in the early 1970s and for some years the site was used for training police officers from Suffolk.

However it has not been occupied for several years, and the condition of the mast – a landmark for miles around – has been a cause of concern.