The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has announced over £25m funding for the Solent Enterprise Zone to create 1,200 local jobs and help unlock the area’s economic potential.
The investment was made by the Secretary of State yesterday on a visit to the Solent Enterprise Zone based company, Marine Concepts, where he met local leaders including Caroline Dinenage MP, Director of Solent Local Enterprise Partnership Gary Jeffries and Cllr Ken Thornber.
The investment will unlock 22 acres of land for the development of new commercial space, create up to 90 new homes as well as support the development of 25,000 sq ft of new advanced manufacturing business space beside the airfield.
The Government funding includes £8m from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growing Places Fund allocation, £1.5m from the Regional Growth Fund and £4.1m from Hampshire County Council.
It also includes a proposal announced by Mr Pickles to invest £3m from the Growing Places Fund in a new advanced skills training centre at Fareham College.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, said:
“This over £25million 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 Small and Medium Enterprises 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.”
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.”