European cash bid aims to unlock £37m of funding

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A BID for €46m (£37m) funding to develop the area’s economy has been submitted by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

The Solent European Structural & Investment Funds Strategy was developed by the partnership following a consultation on priorities with more than 192 organisations and 300 local people.

Gary Jeffries

Gary Jeffries

It was published for the first time this week.

Covering the six years up until 2020, the strategy looks to build on the strengths of the Solent area, with the marine and maritime sector a key target for investment.

The European funds are one of the three funding streams that together make up the LEP’s £2.4bn Strategic Economic Plan, titled Transforming the Solent.

Gary Jeffries, Solent LEP’s chairman, said: ‘We are ambitious for the Solent and keen to see the area deliver on its huge potential.

‘This strategy is a key part of our vision for unlocking that potential and driving growth in the Solent economy.

‘This strategy would not have been possible without the passion and commitment of local people and our collaborative approach to tap into it.

‘This has been a pioneering process where local people who best understand the area and its needs have been put at the forefront of the process of deciding where to spend public funds to best effect.’

In order to ensure the plan reflected local priorities, the enterprise partnership organised an ‘extensive consultation process’, which saw two events held, one at the Ageas Bowl and another at the National Museum of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Naval Base, each with more than 120 delegates.

An online survey and interviews with key partners were also conducted.

The British government will now be working to agree a national funding allocation with Europe and a decision is expected in mid 2014.

A copy of the Solent LEPs EU Structural and Investment Fund submission is available at http://tinyurl.com/p73aulc