TRANSFORMING one of Pembrokeshire's most iconic military buildings into a rehabilitation camp for veterans could cost up to £2million.

This week, Camp Valour community interest company (CIC) announced ambitious plans to buy Hubberston Fort in Milford Haven, and turn it into a 'world first' military-based residential camp for former service men and women.

Camp Valour describes itself as a non-profit organisation, formed in 2018, which is fundraising to buy the landmark from its current owners the Port of Milford Haven.

The aim, it says, is to provide safe, secure accommodation to veterans, advice on benefits and housing, access to health services and employment skills, to ease their transition back into non-Forces life.

On its website, Camp Valour says veterans struggle with mental health, physical illness or injury, and many end up homeless.

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Clare Stowell, director of property and tourism at the Port of Milford Haven, said: "Hubberston Fort is an incredibly important and wonderful historical monument.

"We have always firmly believed that a carefully considered plan was needed to ensure it has a suitable, safe and sustainable future, and welcome ideas on how to give it a new lease of life for future generations.

"We are pleased that proposals are coming forward but there is a lot of work to be done before any definite decisions can be made."

A Port spokesman added that all commercial discussions would remain confidential until an agreement had been reached.

The Mercury understands that a site visit took place in November, to assess the amount of work needed.

Milford Mercury:

Documents seen by this newspaper put the total project cost at £1.5m to £2m, but this could be reduced if labour and materials were donated, it says.

Site security, both during the build phase and beyond would be provided "free of charge via volunteer staff", the document states.

British Gas would provide free electricity to the site, and JCB would provide free machinery, it says.

"Given that this is a national project it is expected that this trend of support will continue from further companies who will want to be involved in the project," it continues.

Funding from the Heritage Lottery, Royal British Legion, the Army Benevolent Fund, Help4Heroes and Rolls Royce among others is predicted to help pay for the five-year restoration project.

Milford Mercury: Inside Hubberston Fort.Inside Hubberston Fort.

An application has also been submitted to the Aviva Community Fund for between £10,001 and £25,000.

At present, an online fundraising page for Camp Valour has clocked up £163 in donations.

A further £266 was raised via a Crowdfunding campaign last August.

Initial reaction to the plans on social media has been positive, with people saying it is a worthy cause, and could help preserve a historic building for the future.

But not everyone is convinced.

Gary Weaving is the CEO and founder of Forgotten Veterans UK, which in November opened a military retreat for veterans at Fort Cumberland in Portsmouth.

He said the idea that Camp Valour would be a 'world-first' was "completely misleading".

He said the plans for Hubberston appeared "copy-cat" and as if they had been "rushed through".

"Having first-hand experience and knowledge of scheduled monument reservations it's not as easy as raising a load of cash and buying a fort," he said.

Forgotten Veterans UK seeks to help veterans in any way possible including issues such as debt management, housing, food problems, food and hardship vouchers.

It also provides access to specially trained mental health professionals.

Cllr Viv Stoddart, who represents the Hubberston ward, said: "I would like to scrutinise what is a worthy project in more detail."