Land sale could kick-start a new era at Gosport waterfront

Royal Clarence Yard in Gosport
Royal Clarence Yard in Gosport
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan at the Scrap The Cap rally, held in Guildhall Square

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LAND that could create hundreds of jobs and play a major role in the waterfront development in Gosport can now be brought back into life.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage and Gosport Borough Council have spent more than four years trying to start negotiations over unused military land at Royal Clarence Yard.

Now Defence Infrastructure Organisation, the owner of the retained area at the yard, has agreed to sell it to the council after meeting the authority and Ms Dinenage.

She told The News: ‘I’ve been trying to meet the DIO for four-and-a-half years.

‘I had a list of things I wanted to talk about, not least the retained area at Royal Clarence, which is currently unused.

‘It holds the key to the whole regeneration of the waterfront area.

‘The DIO had never said no but they’d never said anything at all.’

It was only when Ms Dinenage arranged to meet the organisation with defence minister Anna Soubry that bosses agreed to talks.

The DIO then met the MP and representatives of Gosport’s council in the town last month.

As reported, Ms Soubry paid a visit to the retained area in November last year.

Councillor Mark Hook, leader of the borough council, was at the latest meeting with the DIO and Ms Dinenage.

He said firms had previously been interested in developing the site into a marine hub and the council would try to bring them back to the table.

Cllr Hook said: ‘It’s a piece of the jigsaw.

‘We could put everything from sail-making, mast-making and engine-making there. With the deep water mooring we could get the bigger boats in there.

‘There’s potential there for hundreds of jobs.’

He added the authority knows the land is contaminated and is waiting to be offered a price.

‘There are people interested in moving into that site, both local business and business outside the area relocating,’ he said.

A decision on the land sale is due over the next few months.

If successful, it could join up public access to the waterfront as part of the council’s ambitious masterplan.

A DIO spokeswoman said: ‘DIO has reached a provisional agreement with the district council to sell them some land at Royal Clarence Yard.

‘Both parties have agreed to appoint the district valuer to assess the site’s value.’