MP concerned at lack of action over Haslar development

Matthew Bell, director of Our Enterprise Haslar Ltd, which plans to transform former RN hospital site
Matthew Bell, director of Our Enterprise Haslar Ltd, which plans to transform former RN hospital site

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AN MP has raised concerns over the slow progress of development at Gosport’s Royal Haslar Hospital.

The site has been shut for two years and owners Our Enterprise are still in the planning stages.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage

And in recent weeks a number of houses in Haslar have gone up for sale.

The company insists it is committed to redeveloping Haslar, with facilities for old and young armed forces veterans.

But Gosport’s MP Caroline Dinenage said she was concerned over the slow pace of work on the site.

She said: ‘It’s all gone very quiet. It is a worry because that site is special for the people of Gosport.

‘It is such a shame to see it there just rotting away.

‘We really want to see it brought back to its former glory and given some use.

‘It would be nice to see something for veterans but I think there will have to be some other form of development to fund it.

‘That’s my concern, because I don’t want to see Haslar become a housing estate.’

The man in charge of the development has told The News his firm is not going anywhere.

Matthew Bell, founder of Our Enterprise, says the economic climate and lengthy planning negotiations have slowed the development.

He said: ‘We haven’t gone away, we’re not selling up and we don’t intend to.

‘We’re still going through the machinations of planning.

‘It has taken quite a bit of time in terms of getting the whole thing together.

‘It’s a tough climate and it does affect the pace at which we do things but we are optimistic about Haslar.

‘People have got to be patient.

‘We don’t want something that will be over in a few years.

‘We would rather spend more time to get the right people and the right things on the site.’

Mr Bell also revealed more details about what facilities for veterans will be included on the site.

The new Haslar will care for old and young veterans with health care, rehabilitation and affordable accommodation, he said.

Our Enterprise said it also wants to provide learning opportunities for young people who have left the armed forces.

Mr Bell added: ‘We’re still doing the veterans rehabilitation.

‘The plan we are working on is a good one and I think it’s a plan that will create long-term jobs and a sustainable future for Haslar.

‘We’re not just doing a normal housing development and people should be pleased about that.

‘If we were there would be no jobs and no social element, it would just be like every other MoD site with a lot of houses on it.’

Controversy surrounded the sale of the land by the Ministry of Defence to Our Enterprise in November 2009. The land was once valued at £55m but was sold to the developers for just £3m.