Developer buys up Victorian gunboat yard in Gosport

Guardrooms at Haslar Gunboat Yard, Gosport
Guardrooms at Haslar Gunboat Yard, Gosport

Island homes plan is ‘cookie cutter project’

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HISTORIC buildings are to be brought back into used after a Victorian-era site was sold.

Gosport-based Starvale Developments has snapped up Haslar Gunboat Yard and is converting the boat sheds for business use.

Trafalgar Property Consultancy, representing the firm, said up to 10 new homes and several business units could be built on the 5.5-hectare site.

Graham Jacobs, from Trafalgar, said he is asking English Heritage to reclassify the gunboat sheds.

He said: ‘We’re going through getting them delisted to a Grade II listing.

‘It means we can do a lot more with them.

‘A lot of pressure groups locally are in support – we’re putting them back into use.’

Under the early plans there will be 1,200sq ft of new B1 business class buildings.

The whole site could allow for around 80 jobs.

Mr Jacobs added that one occupier has already been found and that details are being finalised to move the firm on to the site.

Once developed the yard will be open to public access.

Historian David Moore, of Gosport, has welcomed the move as he wants to further document the yard.

He said: ‘I welcome it – it will be brilliant.

‘Although I have done quite a bit of research into it I have not been allowed in.

‘If it’s going to be put back into use and the public are allowed access this will good.’

Mr Moore, a former teacher, added he approved of the proposed delisting.

He said: ‘It’s a unique structure, what’s left of it.

‘It is deserving of it being preserved.’

The guardrooms, boilerhouse, workshops and engine room are on English Heritage’s At Risk Register.

Prior to the sale, it lists them as being at immediate risk of rapid deterioration.

They are scheduled monuments, which protects nationally important sites and monuments.

The yard was built in 1857 to 1858 and the sheds had space for 50 gunboats.

A powerful locomotive engine was used to pull the boats to and from the water.

Former owner defence giant Qinetiq also owns the adjoining Haslar Marine Technology Park.

A spokesman said the sheds have never been used by QinetiQ and the firm has exchanged ahead of the sale.

He said: ‘The sale is subject to the usual completion requirements.’