Daedalus Waterfront will see this historic Naval base and barracks reinvented into a 42-acre mixed-use waterfront development on Lee-on-the-Solent, restoring the thriving spirit of HMS Daedalus.
Working in close partnership with the developers, Gosport Borough Council has resolved to approve plans for the restoration of HMS Daedalus at Lee-on-the-Solent, a historically significant waterfront naval base that played a crucial role in the development of the modern Navy, and on D-Day in June 1944.
The landmark regeneration scheme has been put forward by a joint venture between Patron Capital, MurrayTwohig Developments, and Orwell Real Estate, who were selected by Homes England as development partners for the site last year. Their proposals will boost the local economy through the creation of new commercial and leisure sector jobs, provide much needed housing, protect and reinvigorate the various historic and listed assets, and secure the future of the largest collection of hovercraft in the world in The Hovercraft Museum.
A Site of Extraordinary Historical Significance
Established as a seaplane base in 1917 during WW1, HMS Daedalus went on to play an important role in WW2 as the busiest airfield during D-Day and as a base for the US Navy’s spitfires. The site was the founding base of the Fleet Air Arm and was the home of UK Coastal Command. In 1962 the Joint Service Hovercraft Unit was formed with the aim of testing hovercraft in an operational military environment, and the base was also the home of the Naval Air Engineering School. During all of this time, it was the beating heart of Lee-on-the-Solent, providing jobs, income, pride and energy to an entire community.
In recent years the site has been largely dilapidated and forgotten, with the important historic assets awaiting viable reuse. The Daedalus Development Company has a clear vision to bring jobs and opportunity to the area, preserve historic buildings and celebrate the site’s significant history, support the Hovercraft Museum and nurture it as a successful destination, ultimately restoring community pride in HMS Daedalus. This new transformational masterplan, designed by acme architects, will see a targeted, industrial innovation strategy implemented through the delivery of commercial space link to a thriving visitor attraction at The Hovercraft Museum.
The masterplan includes new industrial and commercial units, much-needed housing, restored historic buildings, new public spaces and a museum.
The proposals include:
- 24,500sqm of new, modern employment and industrial space.
- 5,200sqm of commercial space for new businesses and jobs in the Solent Enterprise Zone – with Daedalus Waterfront creating 240 full-time job opportunities a year.
- 346 new mixed-tenure homes, 76 of which will be refurbishments of the existing heritage buildings including the historic barracks square.
- New community services and facilities, including a public park.
- A world-class visitor attraction at Seaplane Square and The Hovercraft Museum – home to the largest collection of hovercraft in the world, and reinvented as part of Daedalus Waterfront to become a world-class visitor attraction
Central to the vision is the restoration of the historic buildings, including the World War One hangars that face the Solent. These will act as a gateway to the project, an upgraded home for The Hovercraft Museum and a new public space for local events and activations.
The first two zones submitted for detailed planning will deliver key objectives of the Daedalus Waterfront: employment prospects and reassuring the heritage of the site. To the north of the site, The Evill Industrial Park (named after the first commandant of HMS Daedalus, Lieutenant Commander Strathearn Evill) will be an important catalyst for the wider development that will bring jobs and opportunities through new small, medium and mid-sized industrial units.
The residential zone will save and celebrate the heritage of the area. This will include Daedalus Square, which will see the historic barracks square restored and transformed into a quiet, communal and public space with mixed-tenure town houses, apartments and terraces. This zone will also be home to Westcliffe Gardens, a second residential zone with a large publicly accessible park and sea views. Here, the restoration and protection of historic buildings includes Westcliffe House, The Wardroom and The Gatehouse and lodge.
The development team has involved the community throughout the planning process with over 800 people attending two public consultations, one of which saw people gather in the SR.N4 Princess Anne Cross-channel hovercraft to meet the team and hear about the proposed Daedalus Waterfront.
This unique project requires a depth of knowledge and experience in the creation of successful communities and destinations around complex historic buildings and settings. With a combined experience on over 400 million sq ft of mixed-use property across the world, the team has been working in collaboration with the local community, Gosport Borough Council and Historic England, to develop these exciting plans for this challenging and historic site.
"This approval marks a significant milestone for Daedalus Waterfront, one that will ensure the site's future while bringing the energy and buzz back to Daedalus."
David Twohig co-founder of MurrayTwohig Developments and CEO of Daedalus Development Company said:
“This approval marks a significant milestone for Daedalus Waterfront, one that will ensure the site’s future while bringing the energy and buzz back to Daedalus. Central to this project is a sense of community pride, and it has been great to witness so many people eager to learn about our plans. The public consultations have seen over 800 people come and share their memories and experiences at this historic landmark, which have been key to guiding our vision. Working alongside the council, community and historic experts, these first phases will allow us to continue applying our hard-earned experience in preserving heritage, bringing community benefits and developing successful places to make this much-loved site a vibrant and productive asset for Lee-on-the-Solent and wider region.”
Cllr Peter Chegwyn, Leader of Gosport Borough Council, said:
“This is great news for the Gosport area. The Daedalus development will provide much-needed new housing and jobs, and also has the benefit of saving several historic buildings and bringing them back into use after years of decay. We look forward to working closely with the developers as they progress the project.”
Simon Dougall, Head of Disposals, Homes England said:
“Daedalus Waterfront benefits from being part of the Solent Enterprise Zone, with rich history, heritage buildings and wonderful location on the Solent. With the variety of expertise within The Daedalus Development Company, and the support of Gosport Borough Council, we’re pleased to continue with this exciting partnership to help realise their vision to create a great place to work, live and enjoy for the local community and visitors.”
Kevin Cooke, Senior Partner at Patron Capital said:
“We have a track record of delivering mixed-use regeneration schemes that add significantly to their surroundings. Key to this is working in collaborative joint ventures, which bring diversity of thought and experience to achieve the best possible result. The approval of Daedalus Waterfront is an exciting opportunity to leverage this expertise and work alongside industry-leading partners to deliver a milestone project in the UK.”
Notes to Editors
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Patron Capital Partners represents approximately €5 billion of capital across several funds and related co-investments, investing in property, corporate operating entities whose value is primarily supported by property assets and distressed debt and credit related businesses. Since it was established in 1999, Patron has undertaken more than 200 transactions across 103 investments and programs involving over 9 million square metres in 17 countries, with many of these investments realised. Investors represent a variety of sovereign wealth funds, prominent universities, major institutions, private foundations, and high net worth individuals located throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The main investment adviser to the Funds is Patron Capital Advisers LLP, which is based in London, and Patron has other offices across Europe including Barcelona and Luxembourg; the group is comprised of 68 people, including a 39-person investment team.
MurrayTwohig Developments is a development company founded by William Murray and David Twohig. It is the development arm of their place strategy consultancy MurrayTwohig Place Strategies. MurrayTwohig was founded in 2018 and has provided vision and real estate strategy on over 400 million sq.ft. of development with a project value in excess of $200 billion, including at Battersea Power Station, Earls Court, Sony Centre Berlin, Transamerica Pyramid San Francisco and 78 Chicago. Their clients include Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Tishman Speyer and Related Group. www.murraytwohig.com
Orwell Real Estate provides professional development management services to private clients and institutional funds across the UK. Our aim is to maximise the asset value whilst protecting the interests of all stakeholders. We undertake a comprehensive advisory across the full spectrum of the development cycle from acquisition, planning, legals and construction. Our exposure and involvement in the development debt market enables us to review suitable financial structures to best suit our clients’ development objectives.
The Hovercraft Museum in Lee-on-the-Solent is a museum run by a registered charity dedicated to hovercraft. The museum has a collection of over 60 hovercraft of various designs. Situated at HMS Daedalus by the large slipway from where many hovercraft have been tested. The museum houses the world’s largest library of documents, publications, film, video, photographs and drawings on hovercraft, all of which is available for research by prior arrangement. A number of hovercraft manufacturers have deposited their complete archives with the museum for safekeeping, thus swelling this important repository of information. The museum also contains a large collection of original manufacturers’ hovercraft models including the world’s first working hovercraft model built by Christopher Cockerell.