PLANS to bring traditional boatbuilding skills back to an historic boathouse have sailed through the first test for a £3.9m grant.
The Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust wants to transform Boathouse 4 at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard into a Boatbuiding and Heritage Skills Training Centre.
Today the Heritage Lottery Fund has announced its initial support for the scheme, paving the way for the cash boost.
The project would see people taught historic boatbuilding skills at the academy.
It would also be a visitor attraction as people could see the work in action as well as view exhibitions and historic vessels.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has endorsed the proposals and the dockyard now has two years to submit completed plans to compete for the big cash boost.
Peter Goodship, the chief executive of the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, said: ‘We are immensely grateful to have received this first-round pass for what we believe is a first-class project.
‘Not only will it increase the diversity of uses for the Historic Dockyard buildings, but it will also help us to engage further with the local community in Portsmouth and increase its sense of ownership of our boatbuilding heritage.’
The property trust was awarded £240,000 to help put the plans together before an application for the full £3.9m award is made at a later date.
The restored boathouse will house a traditional boatbuilding academy.
Graduates will leave with carpentry and engineering skills to set them up for a career in the marine sector.
It also means more people will have the ability to preserve ships such as HMS Victory and HMS Warrior.
The centre will also run short courses, family weekends and sessions with local schools.
Stuart McLeod, from the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: ‘We’re delighted to be giving our initial support for plans to restore and adapt Boathouse 4.
‘The project’s focus is very much on training and heritage skills – something the Heritage Lottery Fund has been championing for a number of years.
‘While this is just the beginning of the journey, we would like to applaud the trust for its tenacity and commitment and look forward to liaising closely with them in the coming months.’
Boathouse 4, one of the most visible and iconic structures in the dockyard, was constructed during the 1930s’ rearmament period.’