Fort Gilkicker

Posted on 01 Oct 2007

Hampshire County Council, owners of the Fort, are very keen to appoint a developer to restore the Fort and relieve them of the £100,000 a year charge that they are presently incurring on security and repairs in order to maintain a safe environment to protect the public.

So far three organisations have considered the project, all of which would involve converting the Fort for residential occupation. The latest is Askett Hawke, who have a good track record for rescuing historic buildings and who are currently converting some textile mills in the north of England.

The SPS supported the original proposals, which foundered because the developer was unable to raise sufficient funds. We consider that there should not be a “do nothing” option. If left to the ravages of time and vandalism the Fort will become a serious safety hazard and then the only course would be demolition at considerable public expense. This would be a tragedy since the Fort is a Grade 2* listed monument and one of the defences of the area. We can see no solution that does not involve some form of residential occupation and feel that a specialist organisation is best fitted to produce an acceptable result, which could preserve the structure, allow some public access and relieve the taxpayer of the considerable ongoing cost of preservation.

Askett Hawke propose to remove some of the earth banking to restore the sea aspect to the form in which the fort was originally built. This will allow conversion of the casemates to apartments. In doing this they will have to take measures to protect a unique insect that lives only in this mound. The barrack block, which used to house Service families, could also be upgraded for use as apartments.

The Estate manager is Marie Percival and further information is available on the Hampshire County Council website.

Roy Rolf