PLANS for a huge business park that could provide up to 1,700 skilled jobs have taken a major step forward.
Portsmouth City Council is poised to submit a planning application to build a new link road from the A3(M) on to the Dunsbury Hill Farm site, which is on the outskirts of Warren Park, Havant.
The new road, costing about £8m, is the cornerstone of making the technology park a reality as any new businesses will need fast access to the motorway.
The 33-acre site has been owned by the council since 1948 and is empty fields following a failed bid to start development in 2009.
Kathy Wadsworth, strategic director of regeneration at the council, said it is hoping to submit a planning application in December.
She said: ‘It’s a huge step forward. It’s a planning application to build the road and it’s trying to get the money in place to build the road.
‘If we do that we are going to have lots of developers lining up. Places to develop are always hard to find, and this is a great site.’
Despite the current economic slump, the project team believes Dunsbury Hill is a prime site for high-end businesses due to its location on the route to London and the opening to the Hindhead Tunnel.
The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire, which includes Havant and Portsmouth councils, has used a government grant of £400,000 for consultants to come up with detailed plans of the road infrastructure.
The council is applying to take out a loan from the government to pay for the road, which would join with Hulbert Road near junction 3 of the A3(M). The loan would be repaid using cash from business rates.
Mrs Wadsworth said the project team was hoping to capitalise on the government’s recent announcement that it wants to invest more in infrastructure to boost economic growth.
Havant leader Tony Briggs said: ‘The bottom line is if we can attract high-quality IT companies to the area, a bit like silicon valley in the Thames Valley – the whole economy of this area will be transformed in an upward direction.’
Plans for the new road will be discussed at a Development Consultation Forum on Monday, October 3 at Havant College from 6pm to 8pm.