Have your say on protection for Stokes Bay

Stokes Bay

People in Gosport are being asked for their views on whether Stokes Bay should get special protection as a conservation area.

The council and Historic England have launched an online survey to find out what local people think.

The purpose of the conservation area would be to manage and protect features of architectural and historical interest, including buildings, as well as trees and green spaces – the aspects that make it unique.

In a conservation area, decisions on future development have to be made with regard to its special character.

Stokes Bay was a key defensive site for four centuries, up to the Second World War, when it was a major embarkation point for troops on D-Day. Defensive buildings and other structures bear witness to this history. As well as being a major part of the borough’s military heritage, Stokes Bay is a much-loved seaside recreational area, and home to some historically significant residential buildings.

Resident can give their views by filling in a short online survey. It asks for their thoughts on topics such as what makes the area special, how they use it, and what the boundaries of a conservation area should be. The deadline for taking part is 31 January.

If resident have any more detailed information, historic photographs or documents that could be useful, they can send them to stokes.bay@insall-architects.co.uk

A report on the conservation area proposal will be available for public consultation later in 2021.

Cllr Mark Hook, Leader of the Council, said: “Stokes Bay is so important to Gosport – for the part it has played in our history, and for its role in everyday life today. It’s really important that local people tell us how they feel about the area and how it should be cared for in the future.”

Alison McQuaid, heritage at risk projects officer at Historic England, said: “I’d encourage everyone who lives by, works in, or visits Stokes Bay to contribute their views. Conservation areas work best when there is broad local support, and when people really get behind the ethos, so your input is really valuable to help shape the future of this part of Gosport.”

The conservation area proposal is part of Gosport’s activity as a Heritage Action Zone. In 2018 the borough was given HAZ status by Historic England, the public body that champions and protects England’s historic places. Part of the goal of the HAZ is to increase awareness, understanding and appreciation of Gosport’s rich heritage.

The HAZ is also about bringing neglected buildings back into use as housing or retail spaces, and improving areas in a bid to kick-start regeneration. The overall aims are to help restore the borough’s historic character, boost tourism and create jobs.