Village could get 500 new homes

A VILLAGE could benefit from improvements to the main road linking it to Ipswich as well as gaining more shops and money for its primary school if a plan to build 500 new houses goes ahead.

By Alison Withers

A VILLAGE could benefit from improvements to the main road linking it to Ipswich as well as gaining more shops and money for its primary school if a plan to build 500 new houses goes ahead.

Haylink, owners of the former HMS Ganges site in Shotley Gate, have presented their ideas for the site to Shotley Parish Council.

The company is hoping to put a mixture of affordable and larger homes on the land, as well as 30 homes for rent with provision for another 20.


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The company envisages creating a "village square" with some shops and small business units.

It is also proposing to offer a larger space to the Ganges museum, currently on the Shotley marina, as well as restoring a recently-discovered Napoleonic fort and a Martello tower on the site.

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The buildings surrounding the parade ground of the former training school for boy sailors would be demolished but the famous mast, which is protected by a listing, would remain.

Haylink has been in discussion with the planning authority, Babergh District Council, for some time and it is understood that the company would be asked to enter into legal agreements which could see the B1456 Shotley to Ipswich road improved as far as Wherstead.

Contributions would also be made for improvements to the Harwich/Shotley/Felixstowe foot ferry, the bus service and cycle paths.

An educational supplement would be payable to Suffolk County Council and sewerage and water systems would also be improved.

Parish councillor Norman Bugg, who was at the presentation, said the general feeling was relief that the current owner kept people informed and seemed keen to get things moving after the site had suffered years of neglect.

He said: "Everything they've done they've told us. They've been very open. It all looks like the best deal we can hope for.

"People realise the site will be developed and we might as well get the maximum benefits."

The Ganges site has been empty since 1999, when the Home office relinquished its lease to use it as a police training centre.

A possible sale of the site, then owned by Potton Developments, fell through in early 2000 after villagers protested at the prospect of the complex being used to house more than 270 refugees and asylum seekers.

Haylink acquired the site from Potton in 2001.

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