Fencing is coming down at Gosport fort after development is put on ice

Fencing around a historic fort is being taken down after redevelopment work was put on hold.

Wednesday, 15th August 2018, 6:31 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd September 2018, 10:07 pm
The fencing around Fort Gilkicker has frustrated residents for months. Picture: Steve Bone

The developer of Fort Gilkicker has told Gosport Borough Council that he will begin taking down the temporary fencing around the site, having temporarily stopped working on the fort.

Now, an arrangement has been made for most of the fencing around the site to be taken down while the work is suspended '“ reopening the land around Gilkicker to the public once again.

The work at Fort Gilkicker was intended to transform the site into 26 exclusive beachside homes '“ a £20m project that would bring the site in Military Road back to life.

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Leader of Gosport Borough Council, Cllr Mark Hook, says that the removal is expected to begin immediately.

He said: '˜The developer put the fencing up so preparation work for the development of the fort could go ahead. The council understands this work has temporarily stopped and that the fencing can therefore come down.

'˜It will be needed again when the developer resumes preparation work.

'˜We're in contact with the company regularly and are monitoring the situation very closely. This development gives the best possible chance of the fort being protected and preserved for the future.'

Some safety fencing will still be needed on-site, to stop access to piles of cleared vegetation '“ with security fencing also staying to prevent any anti-social behaviour.

Caroline Simpson, 41 from Brockhurst, has been petitioning for the fencing to be taken down for the last few months, after noticing that no work was taking place.

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Despite some of the fencing coming down, she says that the petition '“ which has hundreds of signatures '“ will still be submitted to the council next week.

She said: '˜This is great news '“ it's one of the things we have been campaigning for.

'˜We're still going to to hand in the petition, because not all of the fencing is coming down.

'˜There is a lot of debris left so we want it all down and the debris to be cleared away.

'˜It is very positive but we're already thinking about what needs to be done next '“ the land has been damaged and needs to be put back to what it was'

Caroline says her main concern is that the temporary halt to work could become permanent.

She said: '˜To me it looks like the developer is backing away '“ the work hasn't been taking place for a long time already.

'˜It is still good news that the fencing is coming down but there are issues that need to be rectified.'

Developer Andrew Temperton says that there is '˜no timescale' for when work will start up again '“ but claims that this is out of his hands.

He explained: '˜We agreed to remove the fencing from some areas of Fort Gilkicker.

'˜We will return to the site at some point '“ the planning consent doesn't expire '“ but there are no plans to start in the near future.

'˜We have a lot of frustration with Historic England at the moment, which has been very obstructive to the development.

'˜They have gone back on previous agreements and are getting in the way of the development process.'