HMS DAEDALUS
HERITAGE 

21st Century: A new era today
 


 
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The Daedalus site in late June 2001 with the stored Hoverspeed Hovercraft by the Slipway gate
 


Daedalus land owners today

The Ministry of Defence continues to be the owner of the Deadalus Establishment, and the site is managed by the Defence Estates from their office in Portsmouth. The site also falls within three local authorities, Gosport Borough Council (the "built-up"
area), Fareham Borough Council (the airfield) and Hampshire County Council.

Although the MOD started to market the site in the late 1990s, the latest information  was that the majority of the Daedalus site was removed from the market in May 2001 to explore its potential for military re-use including options as a training centre for the three services [Ref: July 2001].

Only one small part has been sold, the former married quarters in the 1920s buildings in Richmond road and Kings road, which were sold in early 2001 to a housing company and made available for sale to the public from April 2001.

Access: MOD Security for a visitors pass to be available.
 
 
Daedalus land rentees today

Today the airfield is home to a number of agencies, including the Hampshire Police Air Support Unit, and adjoining it separately fenced off is the HM Coastguard Solent Maritime Rescue Control Centre and the SAR Bristows helicopter. The airfield is also home to a number of thriving gliding clubs, a Hovercraft Museum Trust and Sea Containers/Hoverspeed and their former cross-channel hovercraft which were recently retired, and a Super Catalina restoration group. In addition, 15 companies are renting on site on the SE corner of the main former Air Station of which one continues an aviation link through Hughes aviation.

Following a Ministerial decision in December 1996, HM Coastguard continues its  operations at Daedalus, therefore some aviation activity continues on the site. In addition, the Hampshire Constabulary, maintains a Air Support Unit at the former Daedalus tower.


 
 
Daedalus, the Royal Navy and Fleet Air Arm today

After the closure of HMS Daedalus, the Fleet Air Arm and its Associations have not entirely deserted the old Air Station. Every year without fail, including on 20 May 2001, the Fleet Air Arm Telegraphist Air Gunners return for their Reunion and Commemoration at the the Fleet Air Arm War Memorial next to the Air Station, and the Royal Navy Historic Flight with its Restored Fairey Swordfish and Sea Fury FB11 fly-by for display and remembrance activities.

Nearby, the Defence Aviation Repair Agency at Fleetlands,  located  on  the  A32  between  Fareham  and Gosport, still maintains an aviation tradition in the area, and undertakes  helicopter  maintenance  for  all three services.  Staff  employed at  this  facility  total approximately 1,100 almost entirely civilian personnel.
 
Flying activities today

Flying activities continue today and maintain the unbroken tradition of having been in continuous more than 84 years of aviation use.

Since the mid 1990s it was also the home of the Hampshire Police PBN-2B-26 Islander G-HPAA, and more recently in 2001 by a defender 4000 surveilance aircraft, the Bristows Solent SAR S.61N Helicopter G-BDIJ, and a thriving Gliding Club.

With its Hovercraft background, it was fitting that it had become at least the
temporary home of the British Hovercraft Museum Trust. This Trust has
collected 40-50 hovercraft of all types ranging from home built, to such as
the SR.N5, and BH.7, and more recently one of the original SR.N4's 'Swift',
a Mk.II, minus engines. It also has many models, drawings, photographs and
other artefacts, including one of Sir Christopher Cockerell's original
working models.
 
Land use status today

The 382 acre airfield contains three multi-directional runways (maximum length 1,309 metres) and a range of hangars. The 100 acre 'built-up' area of the base contains over 1,000,000sq.ft. of buildings in the form of large hangars, accommodation blocks,support services and Wardroom.

Gosport Borough Council has designated the most important historic area as a Conservation Area and is awaiting designation of c12 of the most historic buildings which were identified by a recent Thematic Study of Airfields by English Heritage whose report is currently in consultation.
 
Cionservation plans and strategies

See the Daedalus Land Use Planning chapter for further details about land use planning and strategies at Daedalus into the 21st Century


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