Wildlife ‘won’t be returning’ to Fort Gilkicker, say residents after fencing goes up

From left, charity administrator Ellie Corp, Dean Dixon and Janet Pearse, both from the Thorngate Pantomime and Variety Group, and charity director Melanie Whitfield-Tinkler. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Panto helps out charity

0
Have your say

To give your thoughts on the Fort Gilkicker development, comment at portsmouth.co.uk

Fears have been raised for the safety of wildlife at Fort Gilkicker in Gosport after fencing was put up around the eastern side of the development.

Fencing has gone up around Fort Glikicker in Gosport, to the frustration of nearby residents. Picture: Steve Bone

Fencing has gone up around Fort Glikicker in Gosport, to the frustration of nearby residents. Picture: Steve Bone

The area is being turned into 26 exclusive beachside homes in a £20m restoration project.

But while residents are concerned for the future of the wildlife, as well as the current state of the fencing, the developer says that there is no need for concern, and is confident that the wildlife will thrive once work is completed.

Paula Heald, 76, from Alverstoke, said: ‘With how much fencing has now gone up, you more or less have to walk to Fort Monkton just to get around.

‘The work that is going on there has caused a lot of disruption to the wildlife that used to be there.

‘I did question the council on it but I understand there’s an agreement between them and the developer.

‘My worry is that the animals won’t actually come back when the development is done, which would be a real shame.

‘There used to be a lot of nesting birds in the low-lying hedges, but now that has gone I don’t think they’ll be returning anytime soon.

‘Some of these birds, like the skylarks, have completely disappeared now and it seems like they won’t be returning.’

While these wildlife fears are echoed by other residents, there are also concerns that the fencing around the site is not in an adequate condition either.

Caroline Simpson, 41 from Brockhurst, said: ‘We’ve always had concerns about the wildlife – ever since the development began.

‘We used to have Dartford warblers here and apparently they have been relocated, but we don’t know where.

‘The concerns about the wildlife are quite raw for people because it’s something they care very deeply about.

‘But the fencing has really started to fall apart – there are gaps that have allowed people to get inside and cause trouble.

‘It’s a shame because it’s a really nice part of town and the fort is very important to people in Gosport.

‘The fencing is going to be around for at least another year now because nothing is actually happening at Fort Gilkicker.

‘If there was going to be any work done this year it would surely have started by now.’

But developer Andrew Temperton says there is no cause for concern.

He said: ‘The issue with the fencing has been mentioned to me by a couple of residents.

‘To my knowledge we have repaired the damage so it’s not of great concern at the moment, and I’ll be inspecting the site myself very soon.

‘I appreciate the fears about the future of the wildlife – in answer to where it has been relocated, it has just been moved to the other side of the fence.

‘As soon as the area is finished with the wildlife will start migrating back over the border again.

‘They are effectively just moving next door, so I believe there’s no significant threat to the future of wildlife at Fort Gilkicker.’

Mr Temperton did admit that work has not started on the site yet.

He said: ‘We’re still not ready to start but I will let people know when we are ready to do so.

‘We will keep residents in the loop about the work.’