Investment in Solent Enterprise Zone will make it ‘jewel in UK’s manufacturing crown’

Posted on 5 Oct 2012

Eric Pickles has announced plans to invest over £25m in an advanced manufacturing zone in Hampshire.

The investment plans were revealed by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles on a visit to specialist marine plugs and moulds manufacturer Marine Concepts.

It is anticipated that almost 1,200 jobs will be created when plans for The Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus airfield in Gosport are finalised.

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 advanced manufacturing business space.

It is estimated that the investment will create around 220 construction jobs and nearly 680 jobs when work is complete.

Mr Pickles said: “This 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.”

The proposed investment is expected to come from a number of bodies, including £8m from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growing Places Fund, £4.1m from Hampshire County Council and £1.5m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Gary Jeffries, director of Solent LEP leading on the Solent Enterprise Zone, said: “This announcement 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.”

Mr Pickles also announced proposals to invest £3m into Fareham College’s proposals for a new advanced skills training centre. The proposed £12m investment package would provide specialist training for the advanced manufacturing sector, up-skilling employees of businesses on the site and securing the future of advanced manufacturing skills across the 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.”