This historic British fort up for sale could soon be a nine-bed family home

A historic fort on the British coast, which was originally built to repel an invasion by France, could soon have another use… as a family home.

Plans have been submitted to change Spitbank Fort from its current use, as a luxury hotel, to a nine-bed family home.

Located less than a mile off the mainland coast of Portsmouth, the historic site is one of many 19th century Royal Commission sea forts located in the Solent.

It was originally constructed in order to combat the threat of a French invasion by Napoleon III and his army – but children and pets could be running around the historic rooms very soon.

The fort initially took 15 years to complete – but, ironically, by the time it had been built, the threat no longer existed.

And in the 1950s, Britain’s coastal artillery was abolished, leaving the fort abandoned. It was then sold in the 80s and restored.

Then, in 2012, it opened to the public as a luxury hotel with nine guest suites.

During the pandemic, the fort was put on the market for £4million. But it was marketed again for £3.6million earlier this year – this time around, it’s listed as a ‘nine-bed’ home.

As if the fort wasn’t quirky enough, owners will be able to access the property from the jetty via private boat from the mainland.

As the cost of running it as a hotel is no longer viable, the owners of Spitbank Fort have applied for an extension of planning permission to use the building as a home.

However, it’s worth pointing out that anyone wanting to take it on will need to renew existing permission to allow it to continue to be marketed as an individual home.

A letter submitted with its planning application says: ‘While the space has provided for a successful operation over the years hosting numerous unique events, the continued running costs and complexities associated with its current operation has seen the applicant seek an alternative, more viable use of the fort.’

Clarenco LLP submitted the application ahead of the August expiry of a three-year permission – granted by Portsmouth City Council – as it continues to try and find a buyer for the fort.

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