Developer needs more time to build homes at Stokes Bay fort

HOLD-UP Lizards have caused a delay on plans to develop Fort Gilkicker
HOLD-UP Lizards have caused a delay on plans to develop Fort Gilkicker
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DEVELOPERS behind a scheme to build luxury homes at a historic fort have asked for more time as planning permission is set to expire.

Fort Gilkicker Properties wants the extension to build the 22 apartments and four homes at the Grade II listed building.

It comes as developers had to move 51 common lizards, slow-worm, grass snakes and adders from the fort.

Workers were due to scour the fort on their hands and knees looking for any remaining reptiles this spring.

No-one from the developer was available to comment.

As reported, members of the Fort Gilkicker Action Group fought the plans for more than 10 years.

Planning permission was granted in 2010 following a public inquiry after the application was called in by the Secretary of State over Environmental Agency concerns about access.

There were complaints by nearby residents in 2012 when trees were cut down at the site for work to start.

David Moore is a historian who has written extensively about Fort Gilkicker and other forts in the area.

He said: ‘This is an ancient monument and it deserves a future.

‘If this development doesn’t go ahead then it’s going to crumble and decay and go to pieces.

‘There are no other possible uses for the fort that will attract funding.’

Mr Moore added he would be concerned if the developer pulls out.

As reported, both Prince Charles’s Phoenix Trust and Try Homes dropped out due to the cost of works.

The fort was completed in 1871 and was built to defend the deepwater anchorage at Stokes Bay.

It had 22 gun emplacements designed to sweep the approaches to Portsmouth Harbour with gunfire.

Councillor Mark Hook is leader of Gosport Borough Council.

He said the extension could be needed due to the financial crisis and the time it takes granite at the fort to dry.

He said: ‘It’s good to see a building that previously been used brought back into life.

‘I do understand the amount of work that it takes, removal of the banks and renovation of the exposed granite walls.

‘We’ve also gone through a recession and these have been advertised at £1m properties at the time we’ve gone through the worst recession.’