We’re delighted to report today that plans to redevelop Gosport’s Royal Haslar Hospital are getting close to completion.
The longer this has gone on, the more many people have begun to worry that the hospital site would not end up containing what they had originally expected.
Lack of information often breeds suspicion.
But the man in charge of developer Our Enterprise, which bought Haslar from the Ministry of Defence for £3m in 2009, has now told The News that medical facilities are definitely included in the plans.
Matthew Bell’s words should be reassuring to all those who had begun to think that no news was bad news.
In fact the company says that, after carrying out surveys and compiling reports, it is finalising its master plan for this important site and hopes to submit it to Gosport Borough Council’s planning board next month.
As well as medical facilities, there will be a mix of affordable housing, commercial uses and care facilities for veterans and young veterans.
There will be some sceptics who still fear that there is some scheme to fill this historic site with housing and nothing else.
But Mr Bell seems unequivocal – and besides, the council will have the final say when it considers any planning application.
If councillors don’t like what is proposed, then they can turn it down and ask Our Enterprise to go back to the drawing board.
As Gosport councillor Peter Edgar, who has been a leading Haslar campaigner, says: ‘We must have complete confidence that it won’t turn into an application for homes and nothing else.
‘It’s very important that the site is for health and community use.’
Haslar has the potential to create jobs and be an important aspect of Gosport’s regeneration.
It will certainly be a very interesting place to live.
But Cllr Edgar is right when he says it must also remain a place used for healthcare – as it was for 253 years before it closed.