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‘There are more questions than answers’ about Daedalus Waterfront redevelopment

By Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas

THE GLOBE’s report on the announcement by Homes England that Daedalus Development Company Limited will be its partner in the regeneration of Daedalus Waterfront in Lee-on-the-Solent has created a lot of comment especially on social media.

The plan for the 42-acre site envisages a, “comprehensive regeneration that will provide an economic boost to the local economy through the creation of new commercial and leisure sector jobs, as well as providing much needed housing while protecting and reinvigorating the collection of historic and listed assets.”

As reported, master-planner ACME is stated to have designed an, “ambitious vision” for the site but this does not seem to have been made public. ACME has not yet responded to The Globe’s request – made more than two weeks ago – for more information.

‘loads more over-priced homes?’

However, people do want more details and the main issues raised on social media have been:

  • housing – in particular, that it will be, “loads more over-priced housing that local people can’t afford” and, “certainly does not look the type of housing that is required, ie affordable”
  • whether the houses will be, “truly eco-homes with full insulation, solar panels, heat pumps”
  • whether consideration has been given to the provision of local public services – medical (GPs and local hospital Queen Alexandra), schools, police, fire brigade, and traffic congestion
  • one person advocated that, the “wardroom is not made into apartments” but should be a 4-star hotel
  • concern that, “control of the public slipway has now been handed over to a development company”
  • although included in The Globe’s report, concern about the amount of contamination on the site
  • and: “When will we get to see the company’s plans?”

Limited answers so far

As well as contacting ACME, The Globe emailed Homes England more than two weeks ago requesting answers to – or least comments on – these concerns but, again, no response has yet been received.

However, a spokesperson for Daedalus Development Company did reply stating that having been named as the development partner: “The next stage of the process is to refine our ideas from the competition stage into a proposed design to share with the council and local community.”

“This will be the start of a conversation with the local community and we invite anyone interested to come and meet with us at various events planned over the summer.”

“The first will be at the Jubilee weekend celebrations on Thursday 2nd June, please go to our website for more details.  As we hear from the local community, we will refine our designs and prepare our planning submission for the end of the year.”

And she confirmed the company expects – weather permitting – to be at the Jubilee Street Party on Marine Parade to begin the consultation process.

Contamination issues ‘have been correctly handled’

Lee resident Kay Newsom has consistently campaigned about contamination at Daedalus and contacted The Globe raising again issues about potential problems in the ground and buildings.

The Globe’s report noted that Homes England accepted: “There is one known [radiation] hotspot which is to the immediate west of Dunning Hangar” plus, “localised contamination hotspots as would be expected for a brownfield site of this nature”.

However, the Lee campaigner refers to various reports in support of her contention that there is more radioactive material on the site and she said she had contacted Gosport MP Dame Caroline Dinenage about the situation.

The MP told The Globe: “Although the Daedalus Site was developed by Homes England, it is the local authority, in this case Gosport Borough Council, who are responsible for the Planning and Environmental Health issues.

“I have facilitated correspondence and meetings to discuss Mrs Newsom’s various concerns – including a site visit with all relevant stakeholders.  The local authority has repeatedly stated that they were satisfied that any contamination issues were handled correctly.”

While the MP has welcomed the announcement of the development partner for Daedalus Waterfront and sees it as, “the final piece of the jigsaw”, there has been no formal statement from Gosport Borough Council.

Councillor Graham Burgess who was the leader of the borough council at the time of the announcement in April confirmed the council had not put out a statement because it was during the pre-local election ‘purdah’.

He told The Globe: “We have been trying to get information from Homes England but they did not want to talk with [the council’s] officers or members. They have not been very forthcoming.”

“We asked for a meeting with the developers but there was no response.”

He also confirmed that the slipway from Marine Parade West onto the Solent is private not public, and it has been closed by Homes England. He feels that together with the two listed hangars near the entrance, it forms, “the gateway into the development”.

It, therefore, looks like it will take until at the end of the year – by when the developers say they hope to submit a planning application – before many of the questions raised on social media will be answered.

Photograph (top): the Daedalus Waterfront site. Homes England, reproduced with permission.