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17 November 2014, 11:03 | Updated: 17 November 2014, 11:13
Contracts are exchanged today, marking a big step towards the creation of 3,700 new jobs in Hampshire.
Minister for Portsmouth Matthew Hancock has confirmed that contracts will be exchanged today for the transfer of Horsea Island East and the Tipner Firing Range from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to Portsmouth City Council.
He's also officially opening a £4 million research centre in the city for unmanned boats and submarines.
The land transfer was included in the Southampton and Portsmouth City Deal, which was signed last year. Tipner Firing Range and Horsea Island East are two of the five sites identified by the City Council for the Tipner-Horsea Regeneration. The scheme provides for 2,370 new homes and 58,000 square metres of employment space for the growing marine and advanced manufacturing sectors of the Solent economy, and will create 3,700 permanent jobs.
Minister for Portsmouth Matthew Hancock (pictured) said:
"A key part of my job is to get things moving at a senior level in Government. The Tipner Ranges-Horsea East transfer we are announcing today is a key part of implementing the City Deal and I did not want any time to be lost.
"The City Deal will play a vital role in bringing investment into the Portsmouth area and creating future jobs."
The Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Anna Soubry, said:
"I am extremely glad that the Ministry of Defence has been able to transfer this land over to Portsmouth City Council. It will provide them with the chance to redevelop the land into much-needed housing and infrastructure for the local community. This announcement means only good news for Portsmouth and I'm certain the investment will bring jobs and opportunity to the city."
The Leader of Portsmouth Council, Donna Jones, said:
"The City Deal gives us the means to achieve our ambition of opening up these sites at the gateway to the city.
"With the right transport infrastructure in place we can attract developers to the sites and create much-needed homes and jobs.
"Along with the new M275 junction for the park-and-ride, this is a great step forward in this project."
The Government has agreed to transfer both Ministry of Defence sites for a nominal fee based on an overage deal, and contracts are exchanged with Portsmouth City Council today.
The sale will be completed following Portsmouth City Council carrying out satisfactory environmental surveys of the sites.
As part of this land assembly and transfer process the Ministry of Defence will relocate the existing firing range on Tipner to an alternative site - potentially to Longmoor Military Camp.
The City Deal provides more than £950 million of public and private sector investment in Portsmouth and Southampton and will create more than 17,000 jobs.
Matthew Hancock will also today officially open a new cutting edge centre for research into unmanned autonomous boats, submarines and other vessels in Portsmouth – a market that is estimated to be worth £9 billion each year over the next eight years.
The Centre for Maritime Intelligence Systems (CMIS) was announced by the Prime Minister in July and is already up and running. It brings together academics, scientists, engineers and naval specialists at Portsdown Technology Park and has received support worth £4 million from Government, Industry and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.
Tapping into the unique expertise in Portsmouth, the centre is a testbed for new systems and technology that can be sold to defence and civilian customers around the world.
The Minister for Portsmouth said:
“This centre puts Portsmouth at the forefront of a growing £9 billion a year market. Whether it’s for environmental monitoring, gas exploration or clearing underwater mines, there is massive potential for unmanned vessels.
“Technology developed here can play a big role in Portsmouth’s future. The city has the talent and expertise to lead the world in this area.
“We chose Portsmouth as the best location for this centre in July and thanks to hard work from government, industry and local leaders we have got it off the ground in double quick time.”