Royal Navy: Gosport MP hails potential of Fort Blockhouse to improve town as MoD site remains unused

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The MP for Gosport believes the site of a historic fort can be used to boost the town’s prospects.

Dame Caroline Dinenage hopes Fort Blockhouse can soon be used for future developments after numerous delays. She told The News: “Fort Blockhouse is a complex site, so I have asked the minister to visit so he can see how the current situation is not good value for anyone.

“The site has huge economic and regeneration potential for our community and the [Defence Infrastructure Organisation] DIO must move forward swiftly on their plans to deliver it.” The Conservative politician raised the issue in parliament last week, having become frustrated with the lack of progress to redeveloping the site.

Dame Caroline Dinenage, Gosport MP, in parliament after raising concerns regarding Fort Blockhouse on March 25. Picture: Parliament TVDame Caroline Dinenage, Gosport MP, in parliament after raising concerns regarding Fort Blockhouse on March 25. Picture: Parliament TV
Dame Caroline Dinenage, Gosport MP, in parliament after raising concerns regarding Fort Blockhouse on March 25. Picture: Parliament TV | Parliament TV

Fort Blockhouse is thought to be the UK's oldest fortification. Picture: Brian Bracher Compass AerialFort Blockhouse is thought to be the UK's oldest fortification. Picture: Brian Bracher Compass Aerial
Fort Blockhouse is thought to be the UK's oldest fortification. Picture: Brian Bracher Compass Aerial | Brian Bracher Compass Aerial

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She said in the House of Commons that Fort Blockhouse was “rotting at the taxpayer’s expense” and was doing for the nothing for the local economy or the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Disposal of the site was set out in the 2016 Better Defence Estates plan. An initial deadline to transform the site was cemented for 2020, but no progress has been made

James Cartlidge, minister of state for defence procurement, previously said in parliament that the site was complex and there are “significant defence assets” belonging to the DIO and the Royal Navy still in place. Plans are in place for Fort Blockhouse to be used as a “mixed use” development containing homes and businesses, with a study being carried out in May 2023.

The fortification was first used in 1431, up until the mid-1960s. It currently remains as the 33 military field hospital, under the 2nd Medical Brigade. A branch of the National Coastwatch Institution, whose members act as lookouts over Portsmouth Harbour, are housed in the site.

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