what are they doing to Beacon Hill Fort ?
In early 2018 two friends, Barry Sharp and Paul Valentine, happened to meet the previous owners who had inherited the site and didn't have any greater interest in doing anything with her.
A deal was struck the sale went through and only then did they realise what a mammoth task this was going to be. More to the point "what do we do with her"
There was never any intention of redeveloping the site even though she sits right in the center of town and with stunning views over the sea and rivers any building projects would have been very profitable.
Right from the start this was about doing the right thing for our town and to preserve probably one of England's most important World War sites
This is a non profit making venture and sometime in the future Beacon Hill will be turned into a Trust that will be owned by the people of Harwich
So what are we doing ?
Working closely with English Heritage and our various council and local historical bodies, all roads, buildings and structures are being cleared of any 20th century rubbish. Any trees or Ivy etc that is damaging those buildings is being removed. Anything that was here when the site was decommissioned by the MOD in 1956 will be preserved. We can then fence off any unsafe structures and open her up for public access for the first time in 65 years. this we hope will be completed by this summer (2018)
Will be to reconnect all services electric, water, telephone, etc to buildings that require them and restore the external appearance of structures and the site, to how she would have looked 70 years ago.
Is still undecided exactly but the intention is to offer the site and buildings to local groups, clubs and suitable business's etc that will benefit our community.
Education and entertainment will be a big part of the finished project.
Nature and the environment is also a very important to us, Beacon Hill has become home to a number of species over the years. As much as possible many of the trees will be kept and managed. Back in 1956 there were very few trees but this is just one of many compromises we must face.
Some space will be made available for local exhibitions, but we do not want her to become a static museum that appeals to a limited audience.
The list of ideas and possible uses grows daily.
Be assured her history as a defensive site will be retained and enhanced
It will be a fine balance.
One point of note is she has been the playground of local children and young adults for the past 65 years and is held in the hearts of all of them, Most of our visitors and helpers are of that generation.
Beacon Hill has been affectionately known as "The W.D." "The Dubs" and more recently "The Dubz"
It's funny how each age group has different names for each building. "The Cake" "The Dolls House" "Ghosty" being just a few. So in our preservation of the site, a very large nod will be made to them.