PLANS to convert a historic fort into luxurious accommodation have been permanently axed, as the site is put up for sale.
The controversial multi-million pound development of Fort Gilkicker appears to have come to an end – with developer Andrew Temperton saying that investors into the site have pulled out of the project, leaving him with no choice but to put the fort back up on the market.
Fort Gilkicker was purchased with the goal of creating 26 exclusive beachside homes, in a £20m restoration project.
Earlier this month, some of the fencing around the site was taken down after the development work was put on hold.
Developer Andrew Temperton said: ‘It isn’t my preference - but the investors from Malaysia see it as a very small scheme and don’t want the hassle anymore, so are moving onto other projects.
‘Personally I am very disappointed because everything was geared up and ready to go.
‘My main frustrations are with problems we had with Historic England and that I’m not able to see the project through to the end.
‘I would like to be involved in restoring the fort, and if a buyer comes along that wants me there I would be happy to stay.
‘I doubt it will be a quick sale though.’
Residents say that the development work has been riddled with controversy, with some believing that it should never have even taken place.
Gerry Hayles, 73, said: ‘It’s a brilliant site – I just think that it could be something for the public instead, like an art gallery or something about its past.
‘It would have been a shame to lose it to people living in private properties, so I’m quite happy that it's not happening.
‘We did hear rumours that it wasn't going to happen so it's intriguing to see things unfold.’
Linda Pegram, 65, said: ‘This used to be one of the best beauty spots in the town, and it has been ruined. Everyone I have spoken to is devastated about it.
‘The plans should never have been approved by the council - this site should be something for people here in Gosport.’
David Williams, 65, said: ‘I don’t think it’s been ruined because they have exposed more of the old building, which is nice.
‘But I am glad it isn’t going ahead anymore – I use the gold course nearby and was worried what would happen if the road got too busy.’
Last week, a petition was presented to the Mayor of Gosport, Cllr Diane Furlong, asking for the fencing to all be taken down.
Ward councillor for Anglesey, Cllr Philip Raffaelli, was also at the presentation.
He said: ‘I have been very actively involved right from the beginning.
‘The petitioning group was good because it showed that there are local people focused on getting the best from the fort and they are going to continue that.
‘It was agreed that if nothing was being done, the fencing would come down; it was clear at the start of the year that things were slowing down, until we got to where we are now, with the interim project manager informing the council that the developer wanted to sell up.
‘The council’s view right now is that we will work with the developer to create public rights of way for people.’