Plans submitted to demolish historic swimming pool

The former pool at HMS Ganges. Picture: Julian Garwood/Flickr

The former pool at HMS Ganges. Picture: Julian Garwood/Flickr - Credit: Julian Garwood/Flickr

A historic swimming pool at a former naval site could be demolished if new plans are approved. 

The derelict swimming pool at Shotley's HMS Ganges was part of the naval training facility stationed at the site until the 1970s but has been empty since 2007.

In recent years, the pool has fallen into a bad state of repair. 

Work has already been given the go-ahead to redevelop the rest of the site into 300 homes, a sports park, shops and a GP surgery.

Villagers had hoped that the swimming pool would be restored. 

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However, developers Haylink have now put in a new application for the demolition of the site.  

In a planning statement, submitted by the Galliard group on behalf of Haylink, the developers said: "Achieving consent for the demolition of the swimming pool building will help expedite delivery of the approved development (as amended) and enable the required licenses and mitigating measures linked to the building’s status as a bat roost to be complied with.

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"It will also deliver public benefits to the local community in terms of removing a risk to health and safety in light of numerous breaches of site security and unauthorised access to the building."

Derek Davis, cabinet member for communities for Babergh District Council.

Derek Davis, cabinet member for communities for Babergh District Council. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

County council ward member Derek Davis said: "I can understand why people are wanting to keep the swimming pool because in its day it was a fabulous thing for HMS Ganges and the civilians in Shotley.

"But it's not a viable option to turn it back into a swimming pool."

He said that money for a feasibility study for the pool could now be used elsewhere in the area but recognised that the peninsula could benefit from a swimming facility.  

Last year, Colin Darroch launched a petition to have the site saved which attracted almost 1,600 signatures. 

Speaking at the time, Mr Darroch said that the building could still provide a useful asset to the area. 

“If you look past that you can see what it could be,” said Mr Darroch.

“You don’t have to have a good imagination to see what a facility that could be for Shotley, for Suffolk and for East Anglia.

“Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

A final decision will be made by Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils in due course. 

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