THE owner of land where two large hovercraft are kept says it is working hard to find a new home for the vessels.
The Homes and Communities Agency said in a statement it is working with local partners to find a solution for the Princess Anne and Princess Margaret hovercraft.
As previously reported in The News, the two 250-ton SRN4 vessels could be scrapped as the HCA looks to sell the site they are on, in the Daedalus Enterprise Zone at Lee-on-the-Solent, for commercial development.
They are the last of their kind.
In a statement, the HCA said: ‘Since acquiring the land in 2011, the HCA has played a significant role in turning Daedalus airfield into the Solent Enterprise Zone.
‘There are currently two SRN4 hovercraft situated at the waterfront area of the site. This land currently has planning consent in place for a large employment space, which could bring hundreds of jobs to the local area.
There is a lot of public sympathy and to reach so many numbers of the petition was great.Warwick Jacobs
‘In order to further develop the site, we have been working with local partners to find a solution, and a new home for the hovercraft.’
The HCA owns the land at Daedalus where the hovercraft are kept but wants to sell it – meaning there will be nowhere to house the vessels.
As a result, the private owner of the hovercraft is set to scrap them.
A petition set up online by the Gosport-based Hovercraft Museum Trust has 11,600 signatures calling for the HCA to keep Princess Anne which is in the better condition of the two vessels. Its target is 15,000.
Museum trustee Warwick Jacobs said: ‘There is a lot of public sympathy and to reach so many with the petition was great. France used the hovercraft for 33 years so a lot of people in France, even French celebrities, have also been signing the petition.
‘We have offered to help the Homes and Communities Agency break down the Princess Margaret for parts.’
Mr Jacobs added the trust was contacted by the National Historic Ships Register who are looking at if the hovercraft can be added to the register.
It gives advice to the government and funding bodies about matters relating to historic vessels.
To sign the petition click here.