HMS Ganges Past & Present
All the latest updates on the redevelopment of the much loved HMS Ganges site.
Wait Almost Over At Ganges
Work is finally set to start on the former HMS Ganges site following the completion of more than 30 pre-commencement conditions.
Contractors are due to begin the spine road from the top of the former Royal Navy training establishment, opposite Great Harlings, down to the Shotley marina, in December. That will allow construction traffic to access the site and build 285 houses, a care home, a small hotel, retail and business units and redevelop existing buildings and green spaces for community use. The foundations of the first house are also expect to be dug out in January.
Owners of the site are hoping to start work in earnest within the next three months, or early next year at the latest. They are also hoping to be able to bring forward the restoration of the iconic Ganges mast. Currently they are not obliged to repair, renovate and replace the mast to its current position until 113 homes are built out.
However, they have told Babergh councillors and officers, they are hoping to ensure the original mast, which came from HMS Cordelia, will be done ahead of schedule.
Babergh Cllr Derek Davis, of the recently renamed Ganges ward, said: “Colleagues and I met with the two owners last week and we had a very constructive, positive and encouraging conversation.
“It has been a very long, frustrating and challenging journey for them and I’m delighted we are close to seeing action on the site in the very near future.
“The question I’m asked probably more often than any other is; ‘What’s happening about Ganges?’ swiftly followed by ‘What about the mast?’
“Well, I can tell you the developers have broken the back of the very stringent conditions, are desperately keen to get going in actually building out the first phase of the houses (115 homes) and we should be seeing builders on site in December or January.
“They have also made it clear they recognise the importance of the mast and other facilities being in place as soon as possible to mitigate other development and because people moving into the new homes will want to feel part of the new area as soon as possible.”
Permission has already been given to take down a large portion of the mast so it can be completely renovated and restored to its former glory, although the public will not be allowed to climb the rigging as thousands of Ganges trainees did for nearly 70 years.
Developers have held talks with potential investors for the retail units and commercial sites, and potential use for Nelson Hall, which has been earmarked for community use.
Haylink, the owners, have had to satisfy 32 conditions, including ecology, environmental, archaeological and most recently drainage and foul water.
A valuation assessment, known as the Red Book, is currently being undertaken and has to be presented as part of the pre-commencement conditions.
A legal agreement, known as a S106, is in place ensuring the developers will pay £6.5m in contributions to education, healthcare, a community cycle path, bus services, heritage and highways, although more than £5m of that is deferred, making it payable once various stages of the development are completed.
These payments include contributions to:
- Affordable Housing - £3.2m
- Bus services - £1.56m
- Community cycle path extension - £660k
- Shotlry cycle path £235k
- Kidzone - £121.8k
- Shotley primary school - £437k
- Healthcare - £98k
- Foot ferry - £40k
- Library - £74k
- Off-site highways work - £123.5k
- Birdlife mitigation £20k
Babergh planning committee first passed the application in March 2015, and formal permission was granted in December of the same year. Woolverstone parish council appealed against the planning permission but lost and were ordered to pay legal costs to Babergh up to £10,000.
Cllr Derek Davis can be contacted: firstname.lastname@example.org
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