Ganges development protesters celebrate

OPPONENTS of major redevelopment at HMS Ganges are celebrating today after proposals to build 325 homes at the site were dealt a major blow.Suffolk County Council's executive met yesterday to discuss a planning report recommending the authority backed the proposals.

OPPONENTS of major redevelopment at HMS Ganges are celebrating today after proposals to build 325 homes at the site were dealt a major blow.

Suffolk County Council's executive met yesterday to discuss a planning report recommending the authority backed the proposals.

But councillors rejected the report and claimed the most acceptable solution for the former naval base would be to limit the number of dwellings to 200.

Laurie Mayer, former BBC newsreader and chairman of Woolverstone Resident's Association was among those protesting at Endeavour House yesterday.

He said: "This is fantastic. Everyone was saying the same kind of thing - the development is too big and in the wrong place.

"Councillor David Rose said we are all agreeing it is too big so we cannot say we are allowing it.

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"The reduction to 200 is so great we hope Haylink will think again.

"We think this is a great triumph."

Protesters from parishes across the Shotley peninsula carried placards and scarecrows outside the council headquarters yesterday, intent on scaring off developers.

Their concerns focused on the capacity of the B1456 to handle the traffic and the lack of amenities in Shotley to cater for the additional or current residents.

The Executive Committee believes that limiting the development and adding a number of conditions will reduce any negative impact.

They propose junction improvements, increased public transport and contributions to education all of which were recommended in the planning officers' report.

Babergh District Council will make the final decision on the plan on June 5 but is obliged to consult with the county council as the Strategic Planning Authority and Local Transport Authority.

The county council looks at infrastructure and service issues linked with the proposed development and these are the main issues for residents in the peninsula.

Mr Mayer added: "Sustainability is about combining economic growth and social progress with environmental protection. The Ganges development fails on all counts. There are no jobs involved - just hundreds of houses few will be able to afford and thousands of unwanted car trips."

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