Blaze that gutted Gosport sports hut was work of arsonist

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A FIRE that ripped through a building formerly used by a civil service sports club could have been started deliberately.

But because the hut was derelict, firefighters are not investigating Monday’s fire, off Fareham Road, at the old site of the Gosport and Fareham Civil Service Club.

As reported yesterday, the blaze at 6pm saw the archery and cricket hut destroyed.

The club had been told by its landlord, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, that it must leave the grounds at the end of April this year.

Dave Ancell is the chairman of the club, which has around 1,500 members stretching beyond Gosport and Fareham.

He said he did not know about the fire until yesterday.

He said: ‘I didn’t know anything about that.

‘The club has been disbanded in effect because the ground has been sold. It is some development company.

‘We’ve been fighting it off for God knows how many years but we finally left it.’

Defence Infrastructure Organisation referred The News to the commercial property consultant, Lambert Smith Hampton, but no-one was available to comment yesterday.

But a source from the club said he was not surprised there was a fire at the site.

He said: ‘When the lease expired and we had to move out, we obviously cleared the grounds out.

‘That bit was where the archery and the cricket were and we left it to them.

‘We said you need to knock it down because if you don’t then somebody will.’

The club had been told it had to move out around 10 years ago but was then given a short-term lease.

A spokeswoman for Hampshire police said: ‘Police attended.

‘A derelict portable cabin was destroyed by the fire on the old MoD grounds which have been brought by a property developer.

‘There was nothing of value in the building.’

A spokeswoman for the fire service said: ‘It was believed to have been started deliberately.

‘But there’s no further investigation because it’s a derelict building, there was no threat to life or property in the surrounding area.’