Work finally begins on Portsmouth's new 66-bed care home for Royal Navy veterans
The 66-bed facility, named Admiral Jellicoe House, is being constructed in Locksway Road, Milton.
The £12.6m development will by run by the Royal Navy Benevolent Trust (RNBT) and has the backing of First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin.
Bulldozers are currently demolishing the existing two-storey Forest Lodge building, a former home for adults with learning disabilities, to make way for the new centre.
The step forward has come as a relief to bosses involved in the project, which itself has been plagued by delays.
Captain Nick Fletcher, chairman of trustees at the RNBT, said: ‘It’s really great news that work has now started on building Admiral Jellicoe House.
‘This care home will further increase our support for naval veterans in Portsmouth by meeting the residential care needs of those who have served their country in peace and war.’
Those behind the project had initially hoped to have the new care facility completed by early 2021.
But developers have now said the site is expected to open in spring next year – about 12 months behind schedule.
Capt Fletcher added: ‘I am so pleased that the pandemic has not stopped this important project, which is great news for naval veterans and for the city of Portsmouth.
‘We are delighted that we can now start to plan for the opening of this wonderful care home.’
Admiral John Jellicoe was a Royal Navy officer who commanded the fleet at the Battle of Jutland in the First World War, before becoming the First Sea Lord.
The home has the support of the current head of the navy, Admiral Tony Radakin, who gave the new facility a badge taken from the ship’s crest of a battleship that was going to be called HMS Jellicoe but was never built.
Adm Radakin, said: ‘I was happy to hear that construction can now begin. The adoption of the name “Admiral Jellicoe House” is a fitting tribute and will be an excellent reminder of the connection the house has with its founder.’
Nick Jellicoe, the naval author and grandson of Admiral Jellicoe, was ‘thrilled’ by the First Sea Lord’s support.
‘I am touched that the First Sea Lord is supporting this important project and has taken time from the business of running the Royal Navy to contribute to its success,’ he said.
‘I am very proud that RNBT has named the home Admiral Jellicoe House’after John Jellicoe, my grandfather, the trust’s founder and first benefactor, which will be a lasting legacy to his humanity and his vision.’
The home is being built by LNT Care Developments Ltd.
It is thought between 50 and 60 new jobs will be created.
As part of the plans a car park with 21 spaces as well as two disabled spaces and an ambulance space will be built.