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Petitioning Homes and Communities Agency

Save 'The Princess Anne' the last remaining SRN4 Hovercraft for the nation

LEE-ON-SOLENT MUSEUM FIGHTS TO PREVENT THE LOSS OF
THE CROSS-CHANNEL HOVERCRAFT.

As developers move in with bulldozers, the Hovercraft Museum Trust is this evening fighting desperately to save one of the two remaining cross channel SRN4 hovercraft from destruction.

Resident at the site since they were decommissioned in 2000, the Princess Margaret and Princess Anne are the last of the 250 ton monsters that used to cross the channel with 400 passengers and 55 cars on board, their Gas turbine engines making the crossing possible inside half an hour in good conditions. They were built on the Isle of Wight by the British Hovercraft Corporation in the 1970s and operated from both Dover and Pegwell Bay before being replaced in 2000 by catamaran service.

Due to essential building work on the hovercraft museum buildings at Lee-on-the-Solent, the hovercraft museum has not been open to visitors for nearly two years and only re-opened in January 2016 - it’s been a difficult period. But since then, visitor numbers have been encouraging and the future was looking promising for this small volunteer run museum.Whilst being stored at the museum, the SRN4’s are not owned by the Hovercraft Museum Trust and there has been a protracted legal battle between the craft and site owners which these gentle giants have found themselves caught in the middle of. This came to a sudden resolution this week and the hovercraft now face destruction and removal unless a last-minute reprieve is granted by the site owner.

Hovercraft museum trustee Emma Pullen said “the SRN4’s are the centre point of the museum and our most important exhibits. Many people come simply to see these huge relics from a bygone age and their loss would be an enormous blow to the museum. But more important than that is the fact that they are piece of British history, the like of which we will never see again. The Hovercraft Museum trust is dedicated to preserving them and we hope that a deal can be reached to allow this to happen. The final decision is out of our hands and this has all happened at very short notice but we will do everything in our powers to protect at least one
of these national treasures.”

The museum has acted quickly and submitted a proposal to the site owner to save the Princess Anne which is in the most favourable location and in better condition than the Princess Margaret, which they have reluctantly accepted is likely to be broken up and sold for scrap.

The trustees have set up a petition page, the link to which can be found on their Facebook page ‘the Hovercraft Museum’ and they are encouraging those with an interest in British history to sign and share it.

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