Published: 00:01, 26 November 2015
Breathtaking proposals to transform the Red Sands sea forts into a billionaires’ playground rivalling Richard Branson’s Necker island are today revealed.
Images just released give a glimpse of how the sumptuous complex could look – boasting unique accommodation set to cost thousands of pounds per night.
Backers are comparing their scheme to the Virgin tycoon’s sun-kissed bolt-hole in the Caribbean favoured by the rich and famous.
Once converted, the distinctive gun turrets perched on the horizon off the Herne Bay and Whitstable shores could be offered as a luxury escape for the super-wealthy.
Reached by catamaran or helicopter, the complex would feature a main residence with ancillary hotel and spa facilities. The six towers would also include bars, restaurants, banqueting rooms and rooftop terraces.
Branding gurus behind London’s Battersea Power Station redevelopment have produced a glossy brochure to illustrate their dreams for the decaying Second World War gun turrets.
David Cooper, who is heading the Operation Red Sands Project, said: “It’s hard to put a figure on what this would cost.
“I’ve spoken to somebody in the industry and he estimated in the region of £35 to £40m to convert the towers. But the return would be in the region of £15m a year.
“We’re talking about something along the lines of Necker Island but in the River Thames. It would be a residence but with elements that could be leased out.”
Mr Cooper says that the completed scheme would be marketed at billionaires who could be whisked to and from the capital along the estuary.
The forts, built in 1943 and designed by Guy Maunsell, feature prominently on the horizon off the Kent coast and are instantly recognisable.
Decommissioned in the 1950s, they are not technically owned by anyone – though they are on land owned by the Crown Estate.
Mr Cooper says that any development of the iron structure would need consent of the estate, the Maritime Marine Organisation and the Port of London Authority.
All three parties had signified preliminary consent provided a suitable developer could be found to deliver a scheme that was sustainable for the next 100 years, he said.
“The Next Big Thing, who are responsible for the branding of Battersea Power Station, offered their services free of charge,” he said.
“That’s how confident they are that we’ll have no problem finding a developer.”
A French creative firm which has been involved in a similar project in Paris’s River Seine is also expressing keen interest, he said.
A final brochure is set to be published next month when the hunt for a developer begins.