My honourable friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Kevan Jones) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The Royal Hospital Haslar is an important historical site. It opened to patients in 1754 and formally ceased to be a military hospital in 2007, although it continued treating NHS patients until July this year when clinical facilities and Defence Medical Services personnel were transferred to the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, and elsewhere.
The future use of this site, which extends to some 23 hectares and comprises around 75,000 square metres of buildings, 13 of which are grade 2 listed, is clearly an important issue locally and nationally. Accordingly, in 2008, the Ministry of Defence commissioned an enquiry by design led by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust and the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment. The inquiry concluded that alternative uses should include new enabling development and that every effort should be made to retain some medical and healthcare presence on the site.
An expressions of interest campaign was undertaken earlier this year and a number of bids were received by the closing date. I am announcing today that Our Enterprise, a community interest company that brokers and delivers bespoke commercial partnerships between charities, social investors, commercial operators and the public sector to deliver large-scale integrated regeneration projects, has been chosen as our preferred bidder for the site. Our Enterprise has been chosen as our preferred bidder for the site in accordance with government policy on the disposal of historic buildings. We expect to exchange contracts with the purchaser and complete the transfer by the autumn, if not earlier.
Our Enterprise has a vision of promoting the quality of life for both individuals residing on the site and for Gosport as a whole and will continue social and health care on the site by providing a veterans’ village, student accommodation, community healthcare and a commercial centre as well as residential uses.
I believe that the choice of preferred bidder for Haslar is good news for the local community and will preserve the heritage and visual aspects of this important site.