AFTER centuries of use as a medical facility, the Royal Hospital Haslar is to be given a new lease of life – and see more than 500 jobs created.
Developer Our Enterprise is spending about £100m on the former naval hospital in Gosport, which was opened in 1741.
The firm has put in an outline application form, showing affordable housing, including for veterans, two hotels, a 60-bed care home, 214 retirement units, a health centre, and restaurant and bar, are to be installed in new and existing buildings on the 63-acre site.
A business space for veterans will also be included and more than 500 jobs will be created. It comes after a long wait for plans to emerge after the developer bought the land for £3m in 2009.
Haslar’s closure in 2009 came despite fierce opposition by Gosport residents.
Tory leader of Gosport council, Councillor Mark Hook, said he was pleased to see the application but had concerns.
They include the planned demolition of the zymotic ward blocks.
‘We’re concerned about that because of the important historic value of those buildings,’ he said.
‘The developer would certainly have to justify the loss of those.
‘Not only the loss, but the size of the buildings in their place.’
Cllr Hook added he was concerned the pathology lab is also earmarked for demolition, with a hotel in its place.
Matthew Bell, founder of Our Enterprise, said consultations have been extensive and that the zymotic ward blocks were beyond repair.
He added Cllr Hook’s concerns will be the subject of further discussions.
He said: ‘There is an awful lot of this site that will, for the first time in a long time, come fully into the public realm.
‘That’s a big win for the people for Gosport.’
Improved access includes a new entrance that will be punched through the wall on Haslar Road.
Eric Birbeck, chairman of Haslar Heritage Group, which has worked with Mr Bell, said: ‘I find it quite exciting – many people say to me “you must be very sad about what has occurred”.
‘My answer is no, I’m very honoured to be here to see a new chapter in Haslar’s four centuries of service.’
The application also includes a heritage centre for the group and the public.
Designers, who have worked on the plans for two-and-half years, want to ensure the site is open and not crammed.
A major part of this is the demolition of the Crosslink building, built in 1986, to open up the central quadrangle.