THE newly appointed marketing agent of Portsmouth’s shipyard says his company has already had a number of interested organisations come forward.
Last week, the Ministry of Defence named Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) as the marketer of the 13-hectare site.
Robin Dickens, director of LSH’s Fareham office, said: ‘It is of great importance to the Portsmouth economy and replacing the jobs with new ones is key to this.
‘We are already speaking to prospective tenants.
‘We are going to be specifically marketing on a national and international basis.
‘We will be targeting defence, heavy engineering, marine and off-shore sectors in order to try and generate interest.
‘There has been a lot of work undertaken by the task force that was set up and by the city council.
‘There is a skilled workforce in Portsmouth and has many features that would attract a large employer.
‘I think the security of the premises will be seen as a benefit.
‘There is a tremendous facility here that is going to be reused. It should be seen as an opportunity rather than a negative thing.’
Mr Dickens said he will meet with Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt to discuss the progress she and the task force have made so far.
He added: ‘Penny has been proactive with Michael Fallon, the minister for Portsmouth. Solent LEP are also involved.
‘I think it is going to work with all these organisations and individuals working together.’
Speaking to The News, Penny Mordaunt said new tenants need to be found as quickly as possible.
‘I am meeting them today and will be going through a number of things with them.
‘There has been quite a lot of work that has gone on with quite a large number of organisations that want to come into the yard.
‘I think it’s very important to do things as rapidly as possible.’
Prospect union negotiator John Ferrett added: ‘Our position as trade union members is still that the government should keep the shipbuilding here.
‘I would say I am somewhat sceptical of alternative, commercial usage.
‘We would still like to see naval ships build in this shipyard.’