Minister sees government investment in action at Solent Enterprise Zone

Posted on 8 July 2014 · Posted in News

Minister for Housing and Local Growth at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Kris Hopkins MP, saw how government investment was making a difference on a visit to the Solent Enterprise Zone’s flagship developments today.

The Minister toured Fareham College’s new Centre of Excellence, CEMAST, spoke to people working on the project and viewed plans for Fareham Borough Council’s new Innovation Centre.

During his visit the Minister announced confirmation of over £7m DCLG funding for investment in infrastructure within the Enterprise Zone that will enable comprehensive redevelopment of the Waterfront to create a vibrant new complex of commercial and leisure businesses and new homes.

Local Growth Minister Kris Hopkins said: “Local Growth Minister Kris Hopkins said: “DCLG have agreed a significant investment of £7.09m to prepare the Zone’s Gosport Waterfront site for development at the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus. The grant will be used to help to unlock the Waterfront’s full potential by making the site more attractive to investors looking to locate onto the Enterprise Zone. It will fund the construction of over 1km of roads to substantially improve road access to the site and help to develop 8,000 sq m of employment space in the short term – with the potential to deliver a further 73,000 sq m of space in the period up to 2021 and create up to 1000 jobs for the area.

“Enterprise Zones are a vital part of our long term economic plan and are delivering new businesses, jobs and skills training across the country. I was delighted to visit the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus, which is opening up opportunities for advanced engineering businesses and cementing the UK’s reputation as a world leader in the marine, aerospace and aviation sectors.”

CEMAST will open to Students in September 2014 and be the new home for the college’s Automotive, Engineering and Manufacturing courses. The site will be the central training facility for more than 900 full time and part time students, and act as the main learning centre for students in apprenticeship programmes. The Minister saw first hand how the new campus has been designed to provide students with the perfect setting to train for their chosen career.

Work on the £5.3m Innovation Centre is already underway on the development, which once complete in April next year will contain office space and workshop facilities for new businesses, with a focus on advanced engineering.  The project aims to create around 150 new jobs.

Caroline Dinenage MP said: “It was great to welcome Kris Hopkins to the Daedalus Enterprise Zone today following yesterday’s announcement of the Local Growth Deal which will provide a significant boost to our local economy.

“What with the new CEMAST Skills Centre nearing completion, the Innovation Centre going ahead and numerous other projects currently underway, I hope that the Minister was pleased with the progress that is being made and will continue to work with local stakeholders to capitalise on the huge potential which our area has to flourish.”

Peter Marsh, Deputy Principal of Fareham College said: “We are proud to have delivered this landmark building on time and on budget – this is a truly trailblazing project as the first major training facility created on an Enterprise Zone. We’ve had the full backing of both the Local Enterprise Partnership and Homes and Communities Agency throughout process and are delighted with the exceptional quality of the spaces we have created.”

The Minister also spoke with Bradley Matthews, apprentice engineer with Bouygues-UK about his experiences working on the CEMAST development. Bradley said: “I’ve been on site since October working fours day here and one day at college. I feel very lucky to have this opportunity, it’s a very exciting project. I have worked on many aspects of the build and found it really useful to have this experience during my first year as a trainee engineer.”

The Enterprise Zone is led by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and the Homes and Communities Agency, which owns much of the land within the Zone, and the two local authorities, Fareham and Gosport. 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.

Gary Jeffries, Chairman of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Kris Hopkins on his first visit to the Solent Enterprise Zone.   The new college development is very impressive and as we move through the remainder of this year and into next, there will be an increasing amount of new development on the Enterprise Zone.  We have been able to show him real progress on the ground as well as discussed our plans for the next phase of delivery.

Colin Molton Homes and Communities Agency Executive Director for the South and South West said: “These are exciting times for the Solent Enterprise Zone, with major new developments taking place on the site. Partners are working together to effect a change that will secure the long term future for the enterprise zone as a place where business will have the confidence to locate, invest and grow”.