Pickles announces investment plans to create 1,200 local jobs
Almost 1,200 jobs will be created in South Hampshire when plans to invest more than £25m in the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus are finalised.
The investment plans were revealed by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles, who visited Enterprise Zone-based company Marine Concepts on 26 September to meet partners involved in the delivery of the project.
It is expected that more than £15m will be used to unlock 21.6 acres of land for the development of new commercial space and up to 90 new homes. The proposed investment would also support the development of 25,000 sq ft of new advanced manufacturing business space beside the airfield on the site. It is estimated that the investment would create around 220 construction jobs and nearly 680 jobs when work is complete.
The proposed investment is expected to come from a number of bodies, including £8m from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership's (LEP's) Growing Places Fund, £4.1m from Hampshire County Council and £1.5m from the Regional Growth Fund. The package will be supported by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which owns much of the Enterprise Zone site and is working with partners to deliver the long-term project.
In addition, the Secretary of State also announced proposals today to invest £3m from the Growing Places Fund in Fareham College's proposals for a new advanced skills training centre on the site. If a £12m investment package is secured to deliver the proposed centre, it would provide specialist training for the advanced manufacturing sector, improving the skills of local people and helping to secure the future of advanced manufacturing across the Solent.
Fareham College hopes to work with the Solent LEP, The Skills Funding Agency, Hampshire County Council and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to fund the development of the new centre, which is expected to create and safeguard 135 temporary jobs during construction and a further 150 permanent jobs on site when complete.
Today's announcement potentially creates 1,182 jobs, of which 828 are permanent.
Secretary of State Eric Pickles said: "This over £25m boost for the Solent Enterprise Zone will unlock its huge potential to deliver growth, homes and jobs and make a real difference to Gosport. It is local business and commerce that creates the growth and jobs this country needs and it's this Government's job to foster the conditions for those businesses to thrive. That is why through the Government's Growing Places Fund and the setting up of Enterprise Zones, we have empowered local enterprise partnerships to drive forward their own local economic development."
Gary Jeffries, Director of Solent LEP leading on the Solent Enterprise Zone, said: "We are seeking to commit a significant investment from the Solent Growing Places Fund which will bring us a step closer to our goal of creating 3,500 jobs at the Solent Enterprise Zone by 2026. Today's announcement also paves the way for the launch of our £2.9m Regional Growth Fund expansion programme for SMEs on the zone, which we hope to launch shortly. We now look forward to working with companies like Marine Concepts to drive growth at the Zone."
Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport, added: "This investment package is excellent news for future jobs and growth in our area. This will secure the Solent Enterprise Zone's place as a leading centre for advanced manufacturing in the long-term and enhance the prospects of young people in our local area."
Cllr Ken Thornber, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: "The County Council believes that the Solent Enterprise Zone can become the jewel in the UK's advanced manufacturing crown, which is why we are supporting the project with substantial investment. This includes improvements to the often-congested Newgate Lane, which will be of benefit to the entire Gosport community."
Colin Molton, HCA Executive Director for the South and South West, said: "This package of investment is great news for the local economy, which stands to benefit significantly from the ripple effect of new jobs and businesses coming to the Solent Enterprise Zone. This has been the result of partners working closely together to devise an innovative package which will maximise the use of the funds available to have a real positive impact on the ground."
Nigel Duncan, Principal of Fareham College, said: "Today's announcement marks a big step in the journey to making the world class advanced engineering and manufacturing centre a reality and we hope to be able to announce confirmation of all funding sources shortly. Our new centre will play a vital role in creating a sustainable future for the advanced engineering and manufacturing sector both on the site and across the region. It will benefit both businesses and young people as we aim to support 200 apprenticeships and teach 600 learners every year. We will actively be encouraging businesses on site to take advantage of the state-of-the-art equipment and research and development facilities that will be housed in the centre."
Following confirmation of final details later this week, work to create the new homes and commercial space is expected to begin immediately with designs drawn up for the new proposed development. Construction work would be expected to start in early 2013.
» Solent LEP Growing Places Fund details
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