Page last updated at 15:59 GMT, Thursday, 8 October 2009 16:59 UK

Naval museum saved from closure

Portsmouth Harbour
Under the plan a waterbus could take visitors across Portsmouth Harbour

A naval museum in Gosport has been saved from closure with the team behind Portsmouth Historic Dockyard agreeing to take over the attraction.

Explosion!, at Priddy's Hard, opened in 2001 but visitor numbers have dwindled to 2,000 a year from a peak of 20,000.

Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust has now completed negotiations with Gosport council to secure the deal.

The trust wants to run a waterbus service across the harbour to link the museum with the Portsmouth dockyard.

Peter Goodship, the trust's chief executive, would not reveal the cost of the deal but hoped visitor numbers will double under the new management.

He said: "The trouble at the moment is poor access, especially for motorists, so that is what we hope to improve.

If we can double visitor numbers we will be delighted
Peter Goodship, Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust

"We hope a waterbus service will link the attractions on both sides of the harbour and encourage visitors see the whole navy story.

"As part of this, we will be looking to offer discounted rates for people who want to see every site.

"We also will be looking to boost spending on marketing which has been lacking recently.

"If we can double visitor numbers we will be delighted."

There are also plans to develop other buildings at the Gosport site, with the possibility of new homes and a new pub.

Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust owns Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on lease from the Ministry of Defence.



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