Restoration of historic landmark delayed

RESTORATION of the broken HMS Ganges mast has been delayed for more than a year because developers can't find a specialist who is available to carry out the repairs, it emerged today.

RESTORATION of the broken HMS Ganges mast has been delayed for more than a year because developers can't find a specialist who is available to carry out the repairs, it emerged today.

A crossbeam on the iconic mast in Shotley Gate recently broke off, prompting renewed pleas for its urgent renovation.

The mast is part of the famous naval training base, which is now owned by Haylink, who hope to build homes on the site.

Its deterioration has now forced Haylink to close off the immediate area to the public due to safety fears.

Tony Thipthorpe, chairman of the HMS Ganges Association, today expressed his dismay at the decline of a once proud symbol.

He said: “The mast is the badge of the HMS Ganges Association, of which I am the current chairman. It is a badge worn with great pride and instantly recognised by everyone.

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“But now look at the mast. It is deteriorating rapidly. The mast has now been listed, along with the historic gates, but that doesn't seem to concern the developers.”

Mr Thipthorpe said a list of contractors, including those working on the Cutty Sark, had been handed to Haylink and he is now calling on Babergh District Council to force work to be carried out.

But Haylink say it is doing all it can to employ the services of a specialist mast repairer, known as a chandler, but claims everyone they have contacted is busy with other work.

Scott Bailey, spokesman for Haylink, said: “A chandler of repute has to be found to supervise the work, so it is going to take some time. It is driving us slightly mad. We know there is a problem with the mast but we didn't think it was as bad as this.

“We have been trying to get a chandler to come to the site. Our surveyor has been chasing them over for a year.”

A spokesman for Babergh District Council said it wanted to resolve the problem in a collaborative way, but may have to issue a repair notice on the company if nothing is done in the next few months.

He added: “The matter becomes more formal once that notice has been applied.”

Are the delays to the restoration acceptable? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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