The Victorian Forts in the Portsmouth Harbour Area are one of the region’s biggest challenges. Fort Rowner is a sister fort to Fort Brockhurst and Fort Grange: the three being the largest of all the Portsmouth harbour defences, and is Grade II listed.
Fort Rowner sits on the eastern edge of the extensive site of HMS Sultan and Sultan have indicated that if it were at all possible the sites boundary could be redefined to exclude the fort. As the fort has long been redundant for military use, and is only partially utilised, this provides an excellent opportunity to assess the potential to reuse the site for business and residential use: largely conversion but also potentially including new build.
One Public Estate have agreed to fund a study and it is hoped that through a HAZ this can be brought forwards and provide a valuable benchmark for the wider fortifications in the area.
An initial assessment indicates that the fort could be converted to in excess of 80 residential units, plus various office and business uses. However, there is a need to clarify the extent and nature of designations here first to inform on future redevelopment plans. It is hoped that HE’s national expert would undertake research on Fort Rowner following on from the work on Fort Blockhouse, which would lead to designation amendment after the submission of advice to DCMS on the amendment to Fort Blockhouse. A decision could be expected in late-2019 or early-2020.
A subsequent viability assessment and feasibility study would be key and would be part of the HAZ bid, working in partnership with the DIO and the One Public Estate Programme.