Shotley Gate: Plans go in for 285 homes at HMS Ganges

MAJOR multi-million pound redevelopment plans for a derelict Suffolk naval base will today be put before planners.

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.

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’s likely the first brick will not be laid for at least two years.

Scott Bailey, a spokesman for developer Galliard Homes, 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.”

The preparatory work will also include repairing the iconic ceremonial mast, which has stood at the Shotley Gate site for more than a century. Concerns were raised earlier this year that it would crumble before developers had a chance to restore it.

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“We have greatly enjoyed putting the application together,” added Mr Bailey. “We have done lots of talking to lots of people.

“Our main concern is when the development is complete it will provide a sustainable extension to Shotley so the need to travel to Ipswich is reduced.

“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.”

Mr Bailey added the development would include a cycle path to link Shotley Cliff and the B1456 Shotley to Ipswich road.

He said the developers would also contribute funds towards a project by the Shotley Peninsula Cycling Campaign, which is working towards getting an off-road cycle path between Shotley and Wherstead Road, Ipswich.

David Woods, county councillor for Shotley, said: “The Shotley peninsula is a peculiar area in that it is accessible by one road. The communities are very close and the Ganges situation has brought us even closer.

“This will be like putting a small village of 285 homes at the end of a cul-de-sac, so it’s got to fit in well and it’s an area of outstanding natural beauty too.

“I think it is extremely important that they get this right. They have had enough bites at the cherry. They have got to take the people of Shotley and the peninsula with them.”