Villagers' anger at new homes bid

VILLAGERS in Shotley are furious today as they oppose a large development on the former HMS Ganges site.

VILLAGERS in Shotley are furious today as they oppose a large development on the former HMS Ganges site.

Shotley Parish Council is objecting to an amended planning application by developers Haylink to build 404 retirement homes and a nursing home on the site in Shotley Gate.

Last year a public inquiry rejected Haylink's proposals to build 325 homes on the land.

And in August the company resubmitted plans it originally presented to Babergh District Council in 2000, which have already been granted outline planning permission, for the retirement community.

Now Shotley Parish Council has written a letter to Babergh asking for the application to be rejected.

The letter says: “In the local plan the community of Shotley is identified as being an unsustainable community and as such development should only take place on infill and small windfall sites.

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“The application should fail because it does not adequately address the issues of sustainability and the nature of the development would make Shotley even more unsustainable.”

The letter also highlights the parish's concerns about the lack of employment and economic development opportunities in the plans, the impact on health services and the impact on community facilities.

If the scheme does get the go-ahead from Babergh when it is discussed at a development committee meeting next year then it would see the 404 homes as well as a club house, leisure facilities, a bowling green, a manager's house and public open space created.

What would you like to see happen at the HMS Ganges site? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

The MP's view

Tim Yeo, MP for Suffolk South, echoed the concerns of Shotley Parish Council about the proposed development in Shotley Gate.

He said: “I am concerned at the latest application under reserved matters for 404 'retirement homes' on the former HMS Ganges site on the Shotley peninsula.

“This scheme is considerably larger than the planned 325 development which was turned down at the public inquiry last year as unsustainable, and very much larger than originally conceived for a retirement village back in 1997.

“Since these plans also include many more three and even four and five-bedroom homes than the 1997 scheme, were there to be any diminution in the minimum age limit for occupation of 55 plus years, it would effectively make this merely an alternative but larger scheme than that which was rejected by the inspector and the minister.

“All the factors which made the last application for this site unacceptable remain and always will do - namely that Shotley is at the end of a peninsula with poor transport access which includes the conservation area of Woolverstone.”

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