The 23 ha (56.8 acres) Daedalus Waterfront site that overlooks the Solent and the Isle of Wight was originally developed as a health resort in the late 19th century. During the First World War it was requisitioned as a training school for naval seaplane pilots, before becoming an RAF station and then the base for the newly formed Fleet Air Arm after the war. On being transferred to the Admiralty during the Second World War it was renamed HMS Daedalus and remained in military use until 1996.
Given its military heritage, part of the site sits within a Conservation Area, which includes six listed buildings e.g. the Wardroom, Officers’ Mess and Quarters, Westcliffe House and three unique seaplane hangars overlooking the Solent.
It is also home to the Hovercraft Museum that has the world’s largest display of hovercraft, including SRN4 The Princess Anne, which used to carry passengers and cars across the channel between 1968 and 2000. In addition, it is not just Solent Airport that you can fly to and from at Daedalus. Hovertravel Ltd utilises the site’s marine slipway to provide passenger flights around the Solent throughout the year via their hovercraft, including excursions to Ryde on the Isle of Wight.
Since 1996 the site has been let to various industrial occupiers, utilising some of the hangars and the marine slipway that were constructed during the First World War. More recently it has also been partially redeveloped for residential and employment uses.
During 2021 Homes England, the Daedalus Waterfront site’s current owner, sought expressions of interest for the remaining 18 hectares (45 acres) to transform it into a thriving and successful waterfront mixed-use development including opportunities for commercial, leisure, elderly living, retail, industrial and enabling residential use.
The critical elements of the vision are the provision of employment space and bringing heritage buildings back into use. Therefore there will be further opportunities for businesses to relocate on this part of the Solent Enterprise Zone, potentially into historic buildings with outstanding architectural quality.
As with the rest of the Solent Enterprise Zone the Daedalus Waterfront site is ideally suited for engineering and manufacturing businesses. However, given it provides direct access to a marine slipway it should be of particular interest to those in the marine sector and those that use the sea to transport raw materials and finished products.
During 2022 Homes England confirmed Daedalus Development Company – a joint venture between MurrayTwohig Development, Orwell Real Estate and Patron Capital – as development partner for Daedalus Waterfront.
In March 2023 the Daedalus Development Company submitted a planning application for the site’s redevelopment. The mixed-use scheme includes residential, employment and industrial, offices, food and beverage, hotel, museum and community related uses.
Earmarked for future growth, development at Swordfish forms part of the long-term vision produced by Fareham Borough Council.
With secure gated access from the northern side of the site, Swordfish will benefit businesses requiring direct access to the airport and its facilities.
Read Fareham Borough Council’s updated Vision for Daedalus and add a link to the Daedalus Vision document.
Contact us today to learn more about the Daedalus Solent Enterprise Zone