Fresh hope for homes at Fort Gilkicker in Gosport

CONVERSION PLANS Fort Gillkicker in Gosport
CONVERSION PLANS Fort Gillkicker in Gosport
The Royal Navy and Royal Marines amphibious landing display at the 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations in 2014 on Southsea Common 

Picture: Allan Hutchings (141718-980)

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PEOPLE have spoken of their hopes that a plan to transform a fort into luxury homes will make progress this year.

Fort Gilkicker in Gosport is due to be converted by developer Askett Hawk but no progress has yet been made.

Back in 2013 the firm was granted a three-year extension to carry out the work as planning permission had already been given.

Now Anglesey ward councillor Alan Scard said he hopes to see progress soon at the grade II-listed building.

He told The News: ‘It’s not going to fall down next year but the best way to preserve anything is to bring it back into use.

‘There’s a few legal issues going on at the moment.

‘I’m hopeful they will get ironed out fairly quickly.’

As reported, Gosport and Stokes Bay Golf Club is concerned an access road could ruin its course.

Former captain and club member Gavin Evans said the matter is still being discussed by the club’s legal team.

He said: ‘It’s all to do with access, really.

‘We’ve got a concern over what they propose to do on the road in the centre.

‘It could benefit the club, which we appreciate but then again we have problems with drainage and access.

‘It’s kind of making sure they don’t come in and create hazards that are unworkable for the future.’

Cllr Scard said he expects the development to take a further five years when work starts.

He added: ‘The whole place has got to dry out.

‘You’re not going to be seeing people at the back of next year – it’s probably a five-year time frame.’

Ian Pearce, from Askett Hawk, said if discussions keep going an investor could be lost.

He said: ‘That could be the end of Gilkicker.’

But Mr Pearce added he is optimistic there will be progress within the first month or so of 2015.

The Victorian fort was completed in 1871 and was designed to defend the deepwater anchorage at Stokes Bay.

It held 22 gun emplacements designed to sweep the approaches to Portsmouth Harbour with gunfire.

Hampshire County Council bought the site in 1986 to protect the fort until an alternative use could be found.