Couple Relocate from Essex to Become First Residents at Barrelman’s Point on Shotley Peninsula 

A husband and wife from Witham in the Essex commuter belt have relocated to become the first residents at Wavensmere Homes’ £130m Barrelman’s Point development on the Shotley Peninsula in Suffolk.  


The 58-acre former HMS Ganges Royal Navy Training Establishment is delivering 303 eco-efficient houses, set amongst scheduled ancient monuments, listed buildings, and extensive Public Open Space. Barrelman’s Point is located off the B1456 in the Shotley Gate Conservation Area at the southern end of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB.

55-year-old Gillian Atkinson is an insurance administrator who spends most of the week working from home, while also needing to regularly commute back to her office in Essex. 51-year-old husband Eion Atkinson is an experienced builder. The couple have taken out a small fixed rate mortgage to upgrade from their two-bedroom home in Witham, to purchase a four-bedroom detached Boston house design, which benefits from a ground floor study, separate utility room, and garage.

50% of the first phase of 81 high specification homes have already been matched with buyers at the off-plan stage, with more residents moving in over the coming weeks. The range of two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom houses are priced from £280,000 to £525,000. Each house features an air source heat pump, a 7kW EV car charging point, and has been designed using a fabric-first approach to retain heat energy, enabling purchasers to benefit from ‘green mortgage’ rates.

Our 30-year-old son is settled in Colchester, so when my dad and then my mum sadly passed away, we felt the time had come for a fresh start and lifestyle change, away from the busyness of town life in Essex.

We first looked along the Suffolk Coastline as far east as Kessingland. We weren’t looking for a new build to begin with, but when we visited Barrelman’s Point in early 2023, our mind was made up on the spot. The sailing community, beautiful walks, and local pub were just what we were looking for – Stan, our six-year-old cockapoo agrees!

Our house is absolutely stunning. The design is so practical, and we have so much space. We’ve actually had to get used to the luxury of an ensuite bathroom, utility, and having such a super spacious kitchen, dining and living area. The ground floor study is perfect too, as it feels like a proper home office, whereas I’d worked from a bedroom previously. A house of this size and quality would have cost at least another £150,000 in Witham.

Choosing new furniture and window dressings is all part of the fun of moving into a new home. Ever since we reserved, the Wavensmere team has been amazing to deal with and so courteous. We’re very grateful for the attentive aftercare. In turn, we’ve been pleased to talk to people who are coming to view the homes for sale. We’ve spoken with a family from the same area we lived in who seem as keen as we were to move to the coast. Quite a few people who are looking to move here have a connection back to the HMS Ganges days and we’re enjoying learning more about the fascinating history of the site.

Gillian Atkinson

More than 160,000 Navy recruits passed through the gates of the HMS Ganges training base, until its closure in June 1976 and the restored symbolic mast is the best-known landmark across the entire Shotley Peninsula. Made of iron, steel, and timber, it dates back to 1865, and was erected in 1907 where HMS Ganges, a 74-gun 18th Century ship had stood, before retiring to Chatham Dockyard in Kent two years prior.

The name for the development – Barrelman’s Point – gives affirmation to the person who would be stationed in the barrel of the foremast to aid navigation of the vessel. HMS Ganges Museum and Shotley Marina are both only a few minutes’ walk from the new development. The village of Shotley also includes a primary school and local facilities.

The historic Nelson Hall – a former drill hall – will be restored and redeveloped to create a potential public library facility and café. A convenience store, racquets centre, co-working office space, creche, and museum are also proposed on site. There will also be several landscaped public open spaces, new biodiverse meadow planting, tree lined avenues, and children’s play areas.

The B1456 leads to the A137, with the A120, A12, and A14 also easily accessible, providing convenient travel across the county and beyond. The historic city of Ipswich is five miles away, which includes a host of town centre amenities and visitor attractions. There are frequent services from Ipswich train station to London Liverpool Street, which take an hour.

Wavensmere Homes is delivering Barrelman’s Point in partnership with Galliard Homes. Headquartered in Edgbaston, Birmingham, Wavensmere Homes has close to 3,500 properties in production, or in planning.

The Barrelman’s Point show homes are open Monday to Saturday from 10am – 5pm, located off Nelson Avenue, Shotley, Ipswich, IP9 1FF. For further information, or to book a viewing, call 01473 233 966, or email info@wavensmere.co.uk.

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