Daedalus delight as site secures a £5m grant boost

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BUSINESS in the region has been given a major boost after former naval base HMS Daedalus was awarded £5m to turn it into a cutting-edge facility.

The site at Lee-on-the-Solent has been given the cash by the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) in a bid to turn it into a major hub for marine, aviation and aerospace business.

Half the money at Daedalus will go towards improving the runway, while the rest will be used to provide grants for businesses which plan to come to the 202-acre site or are already there.

Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council and a director of the Solent LEP, said: ‘It’s fantastic news for Fareham and Gosport that the bid for funding has been successful.

‘It makes Daedalus probably the most attractive site for these types of business.

‘It hasn’t been an easy process though – we have had to lobby quite a few ministers.

‘So much money for this kind of project often goes to Liverpool or Newcastle and other areas in the north, it’s rare to get this kind of money coming to Hampshire.’

Back in August this year, Daedalus became the first designated enterprise zone in the south.

The move meant it would be entitled to business rate discounts and simplified planning rules, as well as potential access to government funding.

Bids for a share of the Daedalus cash will be overseen by the Solent LEP.

It comes as across the water, the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust has secured £1.2million from the RGF for a pair of projects – a boatbuilding college and studios for new businesses.

And as we reported yesterday, a bid by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), backed by The News, has secured a £2.1m grant to help create jobs and boost South Hampshire’s economy.

At the Historic Dockyard, Peter Goodship, Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust chief executive, said he was delighted with the £1.2m grant.

‘This money will lead to the reuse and refurbishment of two important historical buildings in the dockyards.

‘It will provide money for opportunities for undergraduates and there will also be a new training facility for those wanting to acquire a skill in traditional boatbuilding.

‘It’s a diversification of what we do here and what we offer.’

The Cell Block project will see the currently vacant and dilapidated Victory Gate Cell Block converted into studios to house start-up businesses run by young people.