Millions of pounds and more than 1,000 jobs coming to the Solent

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
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A TOP politician is in Lee-on-the-Solent announcing Government plans to inject money into the new Solent Enterprise Zone.

Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, is at the enterprise zone which is being developed on the former Daedalus airfield.

He is revealing government plans to inject £25m into the zone, which will create 1,200 jobs.

Of that money £15m will be used to get 21.6 acres of land ready for the new business units that will be built on the Daedalus site, as well as 90 new homes.

It will also pay for a huge 25,000 sq ft business unit which will be used exclusively by manufacturing firms as their base.

It is estimated that the investment would create around 220 construction jobs to convert the site and nearly 680 jobs when work is complete.

And he is revealing proposals to invest £3m from the government’s Growing Places Fund to help pay for a new training centre on the Enterprise Zone, run by Fareham College.

In a statement to The News today, Mr Pickles said: ‘I will see firsthand how the Solent’s own Enterprise Zone is helping unlock its economic potential.

‘With low taxes and planning perks to attract new firms it is going to create over a thousand new job opportunities for people living in the area.

‘We knew we needed to stop central government and regional quangos second-guessing local know how because this stifles innovation and entrepreneurship.

‘Local enterprise partnerships led by local councils and local businessmen, instead of bureaucrats - unconstrained by arbitrary boundaries and top-down prescriptions which didn’t work can find the best ways to make their economic area thrive.

‘I know the Solent partnership’s priorities are to provide essential infrastructure and investment. We are confident their plans will help local people so we are backing them up with new money for commercial building and skills training.

‘With passionate local leaders like Caroline Dinenage MP; Gary Jeffries the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce President; and Cllr Ken Thornber, who know the area and are committed to best serving the interests of local people, I believe Gosport has a recipe for success that will bring new jobs and commerce here.’