Website post leads to confusion over Haslar development funds in Gosport

Haslar Hospital in Gosport
Haslar Hospital in Gosport
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CONFUSION has broken out over the funding of Haslar’s redevelopment after an appeal for investors appeared on a government website.

Our Enterprise wants to breathe new life into the defunct Gosport hospital but local councillors are concerned the advert means the developer may not have enough cash to do it.

Pat Power from the firm said the advert on the Regeneration Investment Organisation (RIO) website was a mistake.

He said: ‘It says we’re looking for a joint funding venture – that’s incorrect.

‘If you bought one of the units I would class you as an investor. We’ll be marketing the units individually.’

He added he will ask the RIO to pull the advert, which was published on February 12.

But Councillor Peter Edgar, who led the fight to save Haslar before it shut, said: ‘I am very worried. They were given planning permission last summer so the fact they still need investors is a worry. ‘It is a concern for the future of the hospital.

‘When they took over the site, they should have known it would be very difficult to develop on because of the cost.’

The appeal to overseas investors says it needs people to help fund the £152m project but Mr Power said he did not know where this figure had come from and the project was still £100m.

Last year the developer said it could take seven years to complete the redevelopment after it won outline planning permission.

Detailed planning applications have now been submitted for some of the 63-acre site.

Our Enterprise bought the site from the Ministry of Defence for £3m in 2009.

In 2012, Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said she was concerned about the then-slow progress.

The site is due to home a retirement community, commercial unit, a restaurant and bar plus a hotel.

Labour leader Cllr Dennis Wright, added: ‘These plans have been around for a very, very long time.

‘I have always been concerned on the future of it and this investment just adds to that concern. The lack of progress is not good enough.’

But Gosport council leader Mark Hook is still optimistic.

He added: ‘Although the fact they are advertising for investments is a worry, I am confident the development will go ahead.’

A statement on the RIO website said: ‘The developers behind the master plan are looking for a funding partner to form a joint venture partnership to progress the redevelopment and refurbishment of this historic property.’

It aims to attract investors to urban renewal projects.

Website is used ‘to assist in attracting investment’

THE government department responsible for the website post said its site is designed to help projects such as the redevelopment of Haslar attract investment.

A spokesman from the UK Trade & Investment said: ‘RIO promotes UK regeneration projects across the country, over £100m in gross development value (GDV), in order to assist public and private sector groups attract investment.

‘This project meets this threshold, and RIO was asked to assist with the promotion of the project by the developer.

‘Once investment is secured – as we understand it is in this case – we continue to promote the project information, in the interests of supporting the progress and success of the project.’