Yesterday, in a statement to the House of Commons, the Ministry of Defence announced that they will be selling off 91 of their sites. Two of these sites are in the Gosport Constituency: HMS Sultan and Fort Blockhouse.
Having been frustratingly underused by the Ministry of Defence for decades, the sale of Fort Blockhouse provides a welcome opportunity for this prime piece of waterfront real estate to generate a much needed boost for our local economy.
HMS Sultan is a different story, I have been fighting its closure for the last seven years. Importantly the long timescales mean that we have ten years to both urge the Government to reconsider their decision while plotting the best possible alternative strategy for the site moving forward with a focus on employment rather than housing. While it is reassuring that most of the jobs will be remaining in the Gosport peninsula area at HMS Collingwood, rather than South Wales as planned by the last Labour Government, I firmly believe that it would be to the detriment of both Gosport and the Royal Navy to lose the outstanding training at Sultan.
To this end I have already met with the Ministry of Defence, I have arranged meetings with the First Sea Lord and Jo Johnson MP, the Solent Growth Champion, I am also putting together a Task Force of key local stakeholders to plot our best way forward.
A full copy of the report can be found here.