Owners of Gosport building hit by fire to secure site

BURNED Fire damage at the former Sailors Rest building in Rowner. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13565-1)
BURNED Fire damage at the former Sailors Rest building in Rowner. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13565-1)

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THE owners of a building damaged in a fire have said they will secure the site after hearing of the blaze.

British Developments Ltd owns the old Royal Sailors Rest site in Grange Lane, Rowner, Gosport.

It says it was unaware of the fire but will now work to stop people getting into the derelict and dangerous fire-damaged building.

It comes as a 42-year-old man of nearby Shackleton Road, who did not want to be named, contacted the The News with safety concerns.

He said he had seen children enter the building this week after the fire on Sunday.

Around 30 firefighters battled for two hours to put out the blaze last Sunday when they were called at 7pm.

The director of Barking-based owner British Developments Ltd, Dr Shaik Akba Basha, said he will secure the site and discuss the cost and possibility of knocking down the building with Gosport Borough Council.

He said he has sent builders to board up the buildings many times since the firm bought it from the Ministry of Defence in 2010.

He said: ‘We’re trying to sell the property and it might go to auction.

‘We had planned to refurbish the property and let it.

‘It has been vandalised so we had to change our plans.

‘We will come and inspect the damage and then take care of the property.’

He explained the firm has been trying to sell the property for six months after it was targeted by vandals.

The builder working for British Developments Ltd, Muhammad Qureshi, said the council had asked the firm to make the area secure.

Member for Rowner and Holbrook ward at the borough council, Councillor Marcus Murphy confirmed the council was in contact with the owner.

He said: ‘I’m concerned with the safety implications at the moment because kids are kids and they will go in there if they can.

‘The problem we have is the building is privately owned and that limits the council as to what we can and can’t do.

‘I’m happier that he is going to undertake to secure the building.

‘If there are people who do see people there they should be informing the relevant authorities, in this case the police.’