THE transformation of Dunsbury Hill Farm into a business park is set to finally get off the ground.
Portsmouth City Council’s Tory cabinet has provisionally agreed to £5.3m being spent building an access road to the site off the A3(M) in Havant.
It paves the way for the 50-acre stretch of farmland, owned by the city council, to become a hub for companies specialising in electronic engineering.
It is anticipated the development will create up to 3,500 jobs, with many of those going to Portsmouth and Havant workers.
The full council will now have the final say on Tuesday over whether the council should contribute its share towards the total £9.69m cost of the road.
The outstanding cost – £4.37m – will come from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Councillor Donna Jones, Tory leader of the council, said: ‘This is a key strategic site in south Hampshire and we will get all the profits that come from it.
‘Once that road is built and the infrastructure is in place that makes that site far more valuable, and so we are talking to big corporate outfits who want to rent commercial space there long-term.’
Council officers are doing a financial appraisal to see how much money the authority could make in business rents or if it decided in future to sell off all or part of the land once it’s developed.
Planning permission for the access road and the site to become a business park with a hotel was granted by Havant Borough Council – as it is the planning authority for the area – in 2012.
The previous Lib Dem administration helped push forward the planning process.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem leader, said: ‘It’s a really great thing to be doing, it’s been years of planning and it should provide 3,500 new jobs and a lot of people in Portsmouth will get those jobs.’
The area was identified as a key employment site in the Solent Strategic Economic Plan, put together by the Solent LEP.
Project manager Kevin Hudson hopes businesses will be able to start moving in from 2016. Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said: ‘I will be delighted when the access road goes in, the potential for jobs is enormous.’