Work gets under way at £5.3m business centre on former Royal Navy site

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CEMENT has been poured in the first foundations of a £5.3m centre that will nurture new businesses.

A ceremony was held yesterday to mark the official start of work on the centre at the former Royal Navy site Daedalus in Lee-on-the-Solent.

(l-r) Len Salter of Bouygues, mayor of Fareham Councillor David Norris and county councillor Sean Woodward. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141806-2)

(l-r) Len Salter of Bouygues, mayor of Fareham Councillor David Norris and county councillor Sean Woodward. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141806-2)

Dignitaries and guests were invited to see the first of 150 steel foundations being cemented into the ground.

Leader of Fareham Borough Council Cllr Sean Woodward said: ‘It’s fantastic. It’s a very big investment costing £5.3m which will create 25,000sq m of employment space and that’s going to produce about 150 jobs on the site. Our longer-term aim is to create 3,000 jobs on this site’

Once completed next spring, the development – called the Innovation Centre – will see offices and workshops with a focus on the engineering, aerospace, aviation and marine industries.

The centre has been hailed as a catalyst for job creation on the Gosport peninsula and it is hoped that by providing more highly-skilled jobs in the area, it would mean fewer people would have to commute out.

Bouygues UK is in charge of the project and it is also putting the finishing touches to the nearby Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Advanced Skills Training (CEMAST), which will be run by Fareham College and will take its first students this September.

Len Salter, regional managing director at Bouygues UK, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to be trusted to deliver this project for Fareham Borough Council. We have 40 weeks to complete this project and afterwards we would like to continue and complete many projects on this site as we are very proud as a local company to be involved.’

The development is part of £8.3m that Fareham Borough Council is spending on the Enterprise Zone, which includes improvements to the runway and new hangar space.

The Innovation Centre has been given £5.3m by the Homes and Communities Agency.