- 21 ha (52 acres)
Blockhouse/Haslar Gunboat Yard forms part of the wider Haslar Peninsula regeneration area that also includes the 23 ha Royal Hospital Haslar site, plus Haslar Marine Technology Park that is home to QinetiQ.
A blockhouse or fortified tower is known to have been located on it from 1417 and as a result of further development there are two scheduled ancient monuments and a Grade II Listed Building.
The site occupies four land parcels known as Blockhouse 1, 2 and 3 and the Haslar Boat Yard.
- Blockhouse 1 (former HMS Dolphin) includes the Submarine Escape Training Tank (SETT) – a Grade II Listed Building – and 33 Field Hospital as well as MoD administration, training, living accommodation and sports and welfare facilities
- Blockhouse 2 includes the RN Submarine Museum and the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre (JSASTC). The Museum is a popular tourist attraction that will be retained on the site
- Blockhouse 3 (former HMS Hornet) is separated from Blockhouse 1 and 2 by Haslar Road and is used jointly by the JSASTC and the Hornet Sailing Club primarily as a boatyard. The sailing club has a 25 year lease until 2040 with the MoD, plus an option to renew for a further 25 years, for the exclusive use of Blockhouse 3
- Haslar Gunboat Yard includes the underused historic gunboat sheds and yard
In November 2016 the Government published its “Better Defence Estate” strategy that included the proposal to dispose of Blockhouse in 2020. The release date is now envisaged to be during 2023/24.
The site is adjacent to the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour and has a frontage with the Solent and Haslar Lake. It is connected to Gosport Town Centre by Halsar Road which crosses Haslar Creek and served from the south-west by Clayhill Road and Fort Road that provides direct access to Stokes Bay.
The Blockhouse and Haslar Gunboat Yard area provides a significant opportunity to create a new heritage/leisure quarter focussing on the strengths of its Harbour-mouth location, historic buildings and the Royal Naval Submarine Musuem. As with other development sites it will be important to replace the existing employment on the site. However the intensity of use on the whole site is considerably lower than when it was a submarine base, with just under 2,500 employed in 1986 compared to almost 400 more recently.
Given the limitations of the site’s access roads and the finite capacity of the Haslar Creek bridge any proposed development should not result in significantly more traffic than that arising when the sites were fully occupied by the MoD.
The site has a number of features which are potentially attractive to the marine, marina and associated sectors including: deep and sheltered water close to the Solent; a cluster of marina and other technology businesses close by e.g. Haslar Technology Park; as well as on-site assets which may be suitable for re-use e.g. the diving tank.
The site also has the potential to expand its training and skills potential particularly as the JSASTC is likely to be retained on the site. The marina itself will offer enhanced visitor opportunities and potential for linked employment uses.
Given its strong heritage features including the existing Submarine Museum, the site will be an attractive location for residents and visitors to spend time and consequently has the potential for a number of tourism/leisure uses including hotel/conferencing facilities, arts/craft studios, food and drink establishments and heritage interpretation attractions. Other employment opportunities will need to be considered including small scale offices and workshops.
It is acknowledged that housing will assist bringing forward the employment objectives for this site. A developer will need to demonstrate that the proposed level of residential development is required to: help facilitate the delivery of employment generation on the site; protect heritage assets; or represents the most appropriate re-use of an existing building. Consideration will also need to be given to the risk of flooding on parts of the site.
The Haslar Peninsula is identified in the adopted Gosport Borough Local Plan 2011-2029 as Regeneration Area 3 (Policy LP6) as part of a vision to regenerate Gosport through the delivery of high quality sites. As part of this Blockhouse will offer new opportunities for tourism, leisure and marine employment and training. The emerging Gosport Borough Local Plan 2038 includes further details of how the site could be developed.
In November 2016 the Government published its “Better Defence Estate” strategy that included the proposal to dispose of Blockhouse.
Blockhouse 1, 2 and 3: owned by the Ministry of Defence
Gunboat Yard: TBC