A HISTORIC fort whose foundation could date back to Tudor times could be transformed into a major new visitor attraction.

Beacon Hill Fort in Harwich has fallen into disrepair over the decades.

The Harwich site is a scheduled ancient monument of national importance and is on the Historic England Heritage At Risk register.

But now it is on the brink of a revival.

The fort includes a number of buried and standing remains of the coastal artillery batteries, the earliest of which are thought to date back to 1812.

But the site itself dates back even further to 1534, when a fortification was built there during the reign of Henry VIII.

A new fort was built in its place during the 19th century and used during both the First and Second World Wars.

It has stood derelict for decades, with part of the site owned by Tendring Council.

But 3.7 acres of the site has now been bought by resident Barry Sharp and Paul Valentine who owns estate agency Valentines.

Mr Sharp said he wanted to create an attraction at the site and encourage visitors to the area as a boost for tourism and jobs.

He said: “We are doing it for the town.

“We want to put it into a trust of some description for Harwich.

“We want it to be for all generations, we don’t want it to be just another fort, we want it to be more than that.

“There are underground vaults so maybe it could be run as a resort.

“There are toilets and a house and a roadway structure in there - it’s huge.

“I’ve been there lots of times and each time you see something different and the views are absolutely fantastic.

“We want to get everybody on board, we want to get all ideas together.”

Calls for it to be tidied up and opened to the public have been ongoing for a number of years.

Mr Sharp agreed work needed to be done.

He said: “It’s been vandalised over there horrifically this year, it’s graffiti but it’s going to cost a lot of money to clear up.

“It’s such a big project but it has to be used to be a jewel to Harwich. It can’t be left another umpteen years.

“I want everybody to walk in there and everybody to enjoy it.”