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This could be a top new des-res Dive Centre with it's own pub and galley, mooring for oodles of day-boats and liveabords to dock, all it needs is a coupla million and we're off and running!

For sale: 1860s island fort, no mod cons
By Stewart Payne
(Filed: 03/11/2003)


With neighbours confined to the occasional passing ship, a 135-year-old island fort on sale for £200,000 must surely be the ideal property for the purchaser craving seclusion.

However, when the estate agent's particulars note "in need of refurbishment", prospective buyers should take heed.

The last time the building had a lick of paint was when Lord Palmerston was prime minister and the French were seen as the main threat to national security. Since then, gulls have been the only regular inhabitants of St Helens Fort in the Solent off the Isle of Wight.

"An exciting and unusual opportunity for an outstanding marine residence" is how the commercial property agent Vail Williams describes the man-made island which, despite internal dilapidation, is in sound external order.

As the fort is a mile from land, the owner has to agree not to call upon postal and refuse collection services, school transport or the fire brigade. This will be rewarded with a small reduction in rates.

St Helens Fort is a concrete and stone structure that rises 40ft from the seabed with gun casements, ammunition stores, a freshwater artesian well and, at low water, its own shingle beach. It is the smallest of four built in the Solent in the 1860s on the orders of the then prime minister. They were known as Palmerston's Follies because they were never required to fire in anger, although they were reoccupied and used as anti-aircraft gun batteries during the Second World War.

Robin Ede, a businessman, bought St Helens Fort when the Crown offered it for sale in 1986. He now hopes to find a buyer with money to spend to convert it into a home or a business or leisure facility.

Along with several prospective purchasers, The Telegraph visited the fort to be shown around by Mr Ede's son Richard, 30.

He said: "We have obtained planning permission for it to be converted into a private residence. We had some wonderful family barbecues on the observation deck but my father has reluctantly decided to sell it for someone else to take the work forward."

Jeremy Lear, of Vail Williams, said: "When I first went inside it was like something out of the Hitchcock film The Birds - there were seagulls everywhere. But with money and imagination, this could be a very special place to live.

"We are asking for offers in the region of £200,000 and there has been a lot of interest."

It is estimated that a buyer would need to spend more than £2 million to restore and convert St Helens fully. The already converted No Mans Land Fort is expected to be offered for sale at £7 million.

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And here's a link to the place showing plans and layout:

St Helen's Fort
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>WOWWWWWWWWWW , make a tunnel, a lift top to bottom, get kitted up ,open a air lock, door walk out the tunnel straight onto the seabed ....... ( hey, we could sell padi SAT dive tickets, no -one will be none the wiser ) ,,,,that saves air on descending.....

Andy
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]As the fort is a mile from land, the owner has to agree not to call upon postal and refuse collection services, school transport or the fire brigade. This will be rewarded with a small reduction in rates.
Must quailify for 100% discount in council tax

Andy
 

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Well

I've been around one of them, maybe this one. There are others that are already converted into luxuary pads.

I'm up for a venture,

Paul
 

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Remember Fort Bovisand? Nobody's managed to make a go of Bovi and that's on Terra Firma and close to some excellent diving. Huge bankruptcy warning!
 

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OK So it might be a decrepit old fort and never make anything as a business venture.. but boy what a club house,  I can picture the YD flag flying over her now..
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]There are rights in favour of the Secretary of State for Defence regarding navigational lights and the right to install, test, inspect and maintain, repair, alter or remove and renew the lights for the purposes of aids to navigation. Access is normally obtained by prior written notice.
So, you spend 2 million making it into a first class pad with hardboat at your disposal and they decide to put a fog warning on the roof!!

Paul
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (John Gulliver @ Nov. 04 2003,09:51)]Remember Fort Bovisand? Nobody's managed to make a go of Bovi and that's on Terra Firma and close to some excellent diving. Huge bankruptcy warning!
<font color='#0000FF'>I think that might have been to do with poor management not the location.


What a TV programme that was talk about essential viewing


FB
 

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Fort Bovisand - What a place, did my Novice 1 and 2 there, never had a penny to my name since


I think if we had that Fort we would want more than 1 light on it, the Navy have a very long tradition of crashing into things, more recently, big things that are charted.


Dive Safe

Paul
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (FionaB @ Nov. 04 2003,12:24)]
[b said:
Quote[/b] (John Gulliver @ Nov. 04 2003,09:51)]Remember Fort Bovisand? Nobody's managed to make a go of Bovi and that's on Terra Firma and close to some excellent diving. Huge bankruptcy warning!
I think that might have been to do with poor management not the location.


FB
Well, you may be right but I believe Ft Bovisand has had 4 or 5 different owners in the last 10-15 years. Surely, thay can't all have been incompetent?
PS I spent a very pleasant weekend diving there about 7-8 years ago. A pity it is no longer operating.
 
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