Historic Portsmouth landmark nets £20,000 to save it from collapse

AN HISTORIC Portsmouth landmark will be saved by a £20,000 grant from the council.

Friday, 16th March 2018, 12:31 pm
Updated Friday, 16th March 2018, 5:35 pm
Fort Purbrook in Portsmouth

Councillors today agreed to part with the cash to pay for essential repairs to Fort Purbrook on Portsdown Hill.

These funds will be used to replace the fort’s wrought iron bridge beams which structural engineers were concerned could collapse suddenly. Work is also needed to be done on its moat wall and curtain wall.

The money comes as part of a tripartite grant with the council, Historic England and the Peter Ashley Activity Centres Trust who currently lease the fort. It is estimated a full restoration will cost £250,000 in total, and the council’s contribution will aid in meeting that target.

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Darren Bridgman, the trust’s operations director, thanked the council. He said: ‘The £20,000 to go towards the cost of the repairs was unexpected. Anything that we get is fantastic.

‘For the council to put in the money is very welcome.’

The trust itself contributed £12,000 to the project and Historic England already covered the costs of initial works. The £20,000 top up means work can commence in the next financial year.

The Peter Ashley Activity Centre, based at the 150-year-old fort, offers adventure activities for all ages including climbing, archery and mountain biking.

The activity centre’s business manager, Bruce Strugnell, explained why the site was so important.

‘Managing the fort site is essential to both the local community and the nation. It’s a great place both for young people and adults.

‘Every person who enters the fort leaves with some part of it having rubbed off them,’ he said.

Cllr Linda Symes, cabinet member for culture, leisure, and sport, added: ‘We have always had great recognition for the work of the trust.

‘Even in these penny squeezing times we have been able to find an additional £20,000 that we are willing to give to the Peter Ashley Trust.’