THE RICH heritage of one town is to be celebrated as part of a five-year scheme which will see neglected buildings back into use as housing or retail spaces and a boost for tourism.
Gosport has been chosen as one of the country’s Heritage Action Zones, Gosport Borough Council and Historic England have announced.
The ambition is to bring neglected buildings back into use, improve areas to kick-start regeneration, and increase awareness, understanding and appreciation of Gosport’s rich heritage.
Historic areas such as Gosport Ramparts, Priddy’s Hard, Blockhouse, Anglesey, Stokes Bay and the Alver Valley will be the focus of the scheme.
Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, said: ‘This news confirms the borough as one of the richest areas for military historic buildings in the country.
‘A lot has been done in recent years to make the most of our heritage and realise the potential of historic buildings, but there's more to do.
‘We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Historic England and look forward to some imaginative thinking to bring buildings back into use through restoration.
‘This status will help us get funding for regeneration projects and give us more resources to work on our plans. We can’t wait to get started on the project and ensure the town’s character and heritage will truly benefit the area, and current and future generations.’
The scheme, to be led by Gosport Borough Council, will help to boost tourism and create jobs.
The detailed plan for the Heritage Action Zone will be worked up by spring 2019, and will include any grant funding to be provided by Historic England.
There are already 18 Heritage Action Zones in villages, towns and cities across England. In these places, Historic England is working with local people and partners to unlock their potential and to make them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors.
Clare Charlesworth, planning group lead for Historic England in the south east region, said: ‘Gosport has so much to be proud of, from Priddy’s Hard to Blockhouse.
‘Some of its historic buildings are showing signs of neglect but with a little investment and imagination they can become assets for the people of Gosport to enjoy and a benefit to the town’s economy.
‘We are looking forward to working with Gosport Borough Council to increase awareness of what the town has to offer and to make it easy for investors and developers to bring jobs, homes and visitors here.’