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Daedalus - The Site - Updated February ‘17


Most residents will be aware that the former HMS Daedalus site extends over both Gosport and Fareham Borough Councils’ jurisdiction. Much of the area has been awarded Enterprise Status which earns it government money for infrastructure support and development as well attractive business terms for qualifying enterprises; details of the Enterprise Zone input and progress can be found HERE .

Gosport’s areas. The area that is within Lee-on-the-Solent, thus Gosport Borough Council (GBC) for planning consent, is the land south of the airfield, the hovercraft slipway and “Seaplane Square” including the Hovercraft Museum.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) planned to sell the whole site last year but as this was not achieved the site is now being marketed and developed in phases. A separate and first phase was always “Daedalus Park” a business and employment area.  At the same time work laying improved utilities and the upgraded East-West road “Daedalus Drive” all contributes to significant and ongoing work areas.

 “Daedalus Park” phase 1 are the business units next to the Barratt Estate; half virtually all complete with new business already on site; but the site still looks pretty busy as the developer progresses development on western part, Phase 2.  Once completed it is anticipated the whole site will provide about 250 jobs. Plans for phase 2 units include bespoke facilities as well as a number of smaller business units.  This required a realignment to increase the parking provision.  Current works laying improved utilities and the upgrading the East-West access road, “Daedalus Drive” is due to complete this year. This road will give user and public access for both new and established business within Daedalus as well as access for the next phases of development.  Plans for the junction with the B3333 on the seafront have been revised to allow easier traffic flows and hopefully, now that funding issues appear resolved, the connection to the seafront road is expected to be complete by late 2017.  The junction plans include restrictions on the number of vehicles that can use the new access, at peak periods and for HGV’s by laying a narrow road with tight curves, however, it does not state in the plans how any of these restrictions are to be enforced.

2017 will see a move into the next major phase of development with a further demotions within the former base accommodation areas approved, although where there are historic buildings such as building 165 (Wykeham Hall – adjacent to the corner of King’s Rd & Norwich Place) the historic part of the building will be retained for redevelopment but the modern additions removed.  Initially the work will be to provide internal roads and services for the planned 200 houses, about half to be the west of Drake Road and the other half towards King’s Road.  The land between will then be developed as another business park.

The final phase which will be the most controversial as it comprises of the remainder of the former Daedalus accommodation, offices, seafront hangars and ‘Seaplane Square’, including the Hovercraft Museum site.  This development includes the seafront plots and all the listed buildings such as the old Wardroom and the land behind the Fleet Air Arm War Memorial.

The Hovercraft Museum remains on site and will be reopening after a short winter break on Saturdays. It now includes Princess Anne one of the SRN4 former cross channel hovercraft.  The museum trustees have negotiated a short term lease on the site, and the SRN4 in the interim, but their future will not be clear until the final phase of the Waterfront Site has been sold.

Fareham’s areas. Following Fareham Borough Council’s (FBC) purchase of the airfield in 2015 its plans and developments are progressing apace and it has published a strategy for the overall development of “Solent Airport Daedalus” which can be found HERE or Google ‘Fareham gov uk business Daedalus vision’.  The credibility of this document with regard to the scale and future of aviation space and remaining open space will be fundamental to the confidence and viability of potential aviation users and investors.  Organisations which meet the Economic Zone (EZ) remit are the already established: CEMAST College offering over 900 students and apprentices engineering skills, particularly in marine, aviation and automobile technology. Equally the Innovation Centre which is dedicated to providing new business with bespoke office and workshop space.  A second innovation centre just to the north of the current one is also planned.  New-build industrial units on the east hangars development site are in the finishing stages and in the same area new Airside Hangars are proposed adjacent to the old North-South runway. All residents will be aware of the construction traffic and road works that these new enterprises create. The recently finished Peel Common roundabout traffic lights were supposed to help the traffic flows but any real traffic capacity improvement will not be realised until the Stubbington by-pass is opened and while planned in outline and funding allocated by central government and Hampshire, a start date has yet to be announced.

Not so much an EZ fit is the recent proposal for a 25mtr high Air Traffic Control Radar to be installed on the airfield not too far from the new entrance. While not an unusual addition to an airfield it is not actually part of the National Air Traffic’s radar network but a spare installation to back up their existing system and as a training facility.  The LRA has sought assurance that the emissions from the radar will not put neighbours at risk particularly as some homes are unusually close. We have been assured that none of the residents of Lee will be ‘irradiated’ and have been offered to witness exposure verification tests when the radar is up and running.  We hope radio and television will also remain unaffected, it is fortunate there are less interaction problems with modern digital equipment but those with remaining analogue devices, mostly radios, could suffer some interference.

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