TV presenter fights homes plan

By Rebecca SheppardA FORMER BBC television presenter is heading a campaign to stop a development on the site of a naval training school.Laurie Mayer, who lives in Woolverstone, is fronting the fight against a controversial plan to build homes on the former site of HMS Ganges in Shotley.

By Rebecca Sheppard

A FORMER BBC television presenter is heading a campaign to stop a development on the site of a naval training school.

Laurie Mayer, who lives in Woolverstone, is fronting the fight against a controversial plan to build homes on the former site of HMS Ganges in Shotley.

The proposal, submitted by London-based company Haylink Ltd, was halted last year after Suffolk County Council said the planned 500-home estate would be too big.

At the time, councillors recommended that road and other infrastructure improvements should be in place before work on the development started.

Haylink has now resubmitted its plan to Babergh District Council, reducing the number of proposed homes to 325 and planning improvements to the B1456, particularly at known accident blackspots.

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But the new application for planning permission was criticised by Mr Mayer, who is chairman of the newly-formed Woolverstone Residents' Association.

“Woolverstone will bear the brunt of the huge projected increase in traffic,” said the former presenter of the Nine O'Clock News.

“Putting an extra thousand cars a day on the main road from Shotley will destroy the quality of life in a village the local authority has a statutory duty to preserve and enhance.

“Suffolk County Council has already conceded that the B1456 was not designed to cope with the current volume of traffic - how on earth can it cope with an extra 60%?”

Residents have until September 29 to register their views and a petition is under way. The village, which is a conservation area, is also being plastered with “No to Ganges” stickers.

Mr Mayer, 58, who has associated with the area for more than 30 years and moved into a house there in December, was concerned about the knock-on effects of the development, including the pressure it will put on schools, GP surgeries and policing.

“The prospect of four years of noise, dirt, dust and disruption during the building process is horrendous enough. The long-term impact would be even worse,” he said.

“Greater congestion, an increased risk of accidents combined with poorer access for emergency vehicles, noise, pollution, general loss of amenity, the list is endless.”

He added: “Traffic through Woolverstone increased significantly with the arrival of Ipswich Girls' High School with more than 650 pupils commuting daily.

“To impose an additional burden of such magnitude is simply unacceptable to the vast majority of residents. Far from conserving the character of our village, it would destroy it.

“The amended plan for Ganges does not go nearly far enough and still presents a major threat to our safety and quality of life.”

No-one from Haylink Ltd was available for comment last night.

rebecca.sheppard@eadt.co.uk

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