ZELLA COMPTON: Gosport should not become half-baked replica of Portsmouth

The former RN Hospital site at Haslar.  Picture:Steve Reid(100553-64)
The former RN Hospital site at Haslar. Picture:Steve Reid(100553-64)

COMMENT: The return of good weather shouldn’t bring dread

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Your head must have been in the clouds if you missed the excitement in Gosport when USS George HW Bush anchored in the Solent.

We were buzzing, with traffic filling every spare centimetre as people came to look. And why not? The aircraft carrier was a giant bringing back memories of the excellent fleet review.

I’m tired of watching sites gently rotting away

What saddens me is this – Gosport feels as if it’s on hold.

It’s no secret we have masses of ex-defence properties sold with more to come, so it’s up to the council and the rest of us to get cracking. We need to decide what we’re going to do with the remnants.

Are we a place that can sink into generic mediocrity or are we going to seize the moment, take our Solent waterfront and make the most of our geography intelligently?

We know transport’s an issue in and out of the peninsular, but could we think about bringing back a pier and adding another? Why not have ferries running along Stokes Bay, popping into Haslar and then whisking commuters to Portsmouth – or the other way to Southampton? Sure, there are days it won’t work in winter, but there are days when it will?

I’m tired of watching sites gently rotting away, Halsar and Browndown both. We need great plans to develop them before we end up with an identikit suburbia.

What do we want from our seafront? I vote for vibrancy, for people enjoying the sea with the opportunity to do more. We’re not the Caribbean, nor Cornwall, but surely there’s something we can do to build our town as something better, harnessing the interest of those who poured in last week to see that ship? We need to become a destination in our own right, not a half-baked replica of Portsmouth.

Gosport needs a big vision of what it can become with the right leadership and determination. We should grasp this moment with a cohesive plan which isn’t about connecting High Street to car parks, but says clearly ‘this is who we are’. If that’s a marine town, let’s embrace it along the entire waterfront instead of faffing around with unused retail space in a town centre no one visits.

We need a different direction.

OH NO! YOU COULD DO SO MUCH BETTER THAN BE ON LOVE ISLAND

Now is the time to admit that one of my ex-students was on this season of Love Island.

My daughters are quite into this show and were delighted at this unexpected turn of events – their mother with a connection to someone cool.

I’m not going to tell you who is was, but it was an odd moment to see someone clearly so intelligent and warming appear on a reality TV show like this, and having sexual relations on national television.

That’s mightily disturbing when you know the person, and know what the person could be capable of if they applied themselves, and suspect that the person is looking for an easy route to riches.

Good luck, but you could do so much better.

THE DARK AND HIDEOUS SIDE OF A TRADITIONAL FRENCH FAIRY TALE

I finally got around to watching the live action version of Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson starring as Belle.

I’d heard a lot about her singing prowess, but I thought she was great.

What did freak me out a bit though was the beast, who was clearly a beast, with hair and hooves and a tail.

In my mind, always, the Beast was a man who was classically ugly, deformed even (which brings its own PC problems), but never an actual beast.

The story was written when arranged marriages were common, as a preparation for young women, to show them that they can grow to love a man, however unsuitable (puke), but surely Disney saw the inherent problem with their depiction? Literally, bestiality.