Shotley Gate: Glimpse of major homes plan for former naval base HMS Ganges

THESE are the first pictures of a planned multi-million pound redevelopment of a Suffolk naval base.

Developers want to put 285 homes, a 60-bed nursing home, a hotel, offices, shops and community facilities on the former HMS Ganges site at Shotley Gate.

The artist’s impression drawings form part of an application for the site submitted to planners at Babergh District Council.

It comes as fresh detail emerged about the benefits of the proposed development. Haylink, the developer behind the project, says it would create up to 248 direct or indirect jobs.

If the scheme is approved it will see �2million invested in repairing the ‘historic fabric’ of the site. Campaigners raised concerns earlier this year that HMS Ganges’ iconic mast would crumble before developers have a chance to restore it.

Other benefits of the redevelopment, said Haylink, include the creation of 57 affordable homes; opening the historic former naval base to the public; and contributing to plans to create an off-road cycle path between Shotley Gate and Ipswich. A spokesman for Haylink said: “In response to the site’s new conservation area status, the new scheme will retain a significant amount of the buildings on the site including the Signal School, Nelson Hall, and Vincent House.

“These constitute the best Edwardian buildings on the site and the site’s Napoleonic War heritage together.

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“These will be saved and restored and woven into the fabric of a new development that has been carefully designed with the help of English Heritage and Haylink’s award-winning architects, Clague.

“The company is investigating whether it can help improve the broadband on the peninsula in conjunction with initiatives already being undertaken by Babergh District Council and Suffolk County Council.”

Plans to put 404 homes on the site, which has laid empty for nearly four decades, were rejected by Babergh District Council last year.

But even if the latest proposals are given the green light, it is likely the first brick will not be laid for at least two years.

Scott Bailey, a spokesman for developer Haylink, said the site’s ecology, which includes slow-worms and grass snakes, would delay the project.

“It’s fiendishly complicated,” he said. “We have reptiles on the site and we have to find a place for them to go and we have to get every one of them.”

“We have indications from people that they think the application is more acceptable than anything they have seen before. We’re not having the negative press we have had in the past – this time we have come up with a scheme that’s acceptable to everyone.”

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