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Vow to fight Ganges homes plan

PUBLISHED: 21:50 09 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:54 02 March 2010

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to the development of 325 homes at the former HMS Ganges site have vowed to fight on today after councillors backed the plan.

Laurie Mayer, chairman of Woolverstone Residents' Association said his group would be seeking judicial review following Babergh's decision to grant outline planning permission.

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to the development of 325 homes at the former HMS Ganges site have vowed to fight on today after councillors backed the plan.

Laurie Mayer, chairman of Woolverstone Residents' Association said his group would be seeking judicial review following Babergh's decision to grant outline planning permission.

The decision came despite recommendations by Babergh's planning officer to reject the plan on the grounds that the development would be "unsustainable."

Planning committee member Clive Arthey spoke in support of the plan and highlighted previous consent to build 404 retirement homes at the former naval training base.

He said: "We are in a position where we have to accept growth and embrace the changes it brings. This site has been mostly redundant for years and our site inspection clearly demonstrated the urgent need for this to be addressed. It has become an eyesore and a blot on a valuable landscape."

Throughout the lengthy planning meeting, representatives of the parish councils on the peninsula vented their opposition to the plans.

Their main concern was the anticipated increase in traffic along the B1456.

But Richard Watson, head of planning, advised councillors not to object to the plan on these grounds and referred to improvements planned along the route.

Jim Quinlan, Babergh councillor for Hadleigh spoke of the effect of traffic increases in Hadleigh and said he supported the increase in affordable housing brought about by the development.

Councillors also discussed major developments elsewhere in the district which they said had not had the detrimental impact expected.

David Wood, county councillor for the Shotley Peninsula, said: "I'm absolutely amazed. To not listen to Shotley Parish Council, to the local members on the county council and take on board their views, I am confounded. They made comparisons with Hadleigh, Sudbury and Great Cornard which was a complete misdemeanour. I shall give my full backing to the parishes in whatever direction they choose to take. I am sure it will be called in and will carry on."

Laurie Mayer, former BBC newsman and chairman of Woolverstone Residents' Association, said: "I think this is a monstrous decision. I think those on the committee are being nimbies saying all their housing problems can be solved by an area of outstanding natural beauty. We will seek judicial review, go to the office of the deputy Prime Minister and try to get this referred back to the whole of Babergh."

The decision must now be referred to the security of state as it contravenes Babergh's local plan and government recommendations on preserving playing fields.

The decision was also made subject to a number of conditions including road improvements and enhanced transport links.


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