£7m Funding For Huge Project Near Gosport

29 January 2014, 06:33 | Updated: 29 January 2014, 06:34

More than £7 million has been awarded by the government to help a huge redevelopment project near Gosport.

Following a successful bid by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has announced a grant of £7.09m for essential public investment in infrastructure to upgrade the waterfront road within the Enterprise Zone and develop brownfield sites in the area for commercial, leisure and residential development around the HMS Daedalus site (pictured).

The DCLG grant will enable the existing internal road infrastructure of the Enterprise Zone to be upgraded, linking to the new main gateway off Broom Way and running east-west across the southern (Gosport) area of the Enterprise Zone at Lee-on-the-Solent.

The road will access a string of development sites which are expected to be marketed shortly but is also essential underpinning to the development strategy for the Gosport Waterfront which is to deliver comprehensive redevelopment of the decaying buildings in this part of the Enterprise Zone and create a vibrant new complex of commercial and leisure businesses and new homes.

It is estimated that around 3,500 jobs will be created within the Enterprise Zone over the life of the Zone, turning the area into a destination of choice for advanced manufacturing and technology businesses, especially within the marine, aerospace and aviation sectors.

The Enterprise Zone is led by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the local authorities within the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which owns much of the land within the Zone. A significant part of the site transferred from the South East of England Development Agency (SEEDA) to the HCA on 19 September as part of a national transfer of assets from England’s RDAs to the Agency.

Gary Jeffries, Chairman of the Solent Enterprise Partnership, said:

“This is excellent news for the Solent Enterprise Zone and the wider area. Significant construction work is already underway on the Solent Enterprise Zone and this enables us to start work on a new area - the Gosport Waterfront.  

"The grant from DCLG will unlock this area's considerable potential by enabling us to invest public money in critical infrastructure and make early progress in creating new commercial development, providing new local jobs.  

"In the slightly longer term we will be seeking investment in a comprehensive redevelopment that presents an exciting opportunity for private sector investment in new businesses, leisure and in new homes."

Kevin Bourner, Head of Area at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) which owns the Enterprise Zone site, added:

“This builds on the significant strides partners have made to bring new investment and jobs to the Solent Enterprise Zone. Work to deliver the new Fareham College facility is underway, plans for an innovation centre are progressing and businesses are showing strong interest in moving onto the site.

“This latest investment forms an essential part of unlocking the Waterfront to redevelopment which will benefit the entire enterprise zone and wider economy. This will be an exciting year for the Solent Enterprise Zone, and we remain focused on turning partners’ vision for this site into reality.”

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

“Enterprise zones are at the centre of our long-term economic plans to build a stronger, more competitive business environment and a better future for Britain.

“This funding will give these areas the infrastructure they need to attract more investment, support the growth of local businesses and create up to 3000 jobs for hardworking people across the country.”

Confirmation of the investment means that the partnership is now in a position to draw up contracts for tender. It is expected that work on the infrastructure will start next Spring.

The funding is in addition to investment already underway at the Solent Enterprise Zone through the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership. The first phase of the development at Daedalus East will deliver around 20,000 sq m of commercial development, CEMAST, which is Fareham College’s  4,000 sq m advanced engineering skills training centre, and a new 2,000 sq m Innovation Centre that will provide opportunities for new business start-ups and expansion.

This grant brings the total investment committed to the Solent Enterprise Zone to over £40m.