Solent fort set to go under the hammer with a £875,000 pricetag

Horse Sand Fort in the Solent
Horse Sand Fort in the Solent
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ONE of the largest forts in the Solent is to go under the hammer.

Horse Sand Fort, a historic fort completed in 1880 as a military base to protect Portsmouth against the French, is up for sale, with a guide price of £875,000.

The property is being sold on behalf of owner Clarenco LLP. Despite the 73m diameter site being listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, planning permission for conversion to 14 luxury apartments was secured in 2004.

Oliver Childs, national head of auctions at Lambert Smith Hampton, said: ‘Over the years we have sold nuclear bunkers, telecommunications masts, former reservoirs, beaches and airfields to name but a few. We are expecting worldwide interest.’

Horse Sand is one of four forts which were never needed for their intended use and became known as ‘Palmerston’s Follies’ after the prime minister who authorised their construction. The fort was armed during the world wars, then declared surplus to requirements by the Ministry of Defence in the 1960s.

It is in the middle of the Solent, about 15 minutes by boat from Gunwharf Quays and four miles out to sea. Built from concrete and granite, the fort has two floors and a basement and has a circular road along the inner perimeter, known as ‘the Street’.

It has been open to the public since last year, after it was purchased by Amazing Venues, which is run by Clarenco LLP, in an abandoned state having been unoccupied for decades. It was kept as a ‘living museum’.

Amazing Venues has turned two of the other forts – No Man’s Fort and Spitbank – into luxury hotels. The other fort – St Helens – is in private hands and not open to the public

Clarenco LLP’s property director Steve Leahy added: ‘The success of our development of No Man’s Fort and Spitbank Fort in the Solent demonstrates the potential of this unique opportunity for an entrepreneurial high net worth investor or developer to create their own vision.’

Lambert Smith Hampton is offering the armour-plated fort for auction at 11am on Tuesday, October 11 at Le Meridien Hotel, 21 Piccadilly, London. For details go to lshauctions.co.uk.