COUNCILLORS have praised the progress being made to transform the Solent Enterprise Zone into a hugely successful commercial hub.
Fareham Borough Council’s executive welcomed a report that gave an update into what is happening at the former HMS Daedalus airfield in Lee-on-the-Solent.
It revealed that a planning application for the proposed Innovation Centre – which will have office space and workshop facilities for new firms – will be considered on March 26.
If all goes well, then work on the £5.3m complex, being funded by the Homes & Communities Agency, will begin in May.
An operator for the centre could be brought in by the summer and it is expected to be finished by next March.
A design brief and a detailed specification have now been prepared for the proposed improved airfield.
The final element of the project is a new hangar on the north western edge, close to the new entrance from Gosport Road.
It’s hoped this will become a ‘catalyst’ for future commercial investment.
The hangar and airfield works are being paid for by the borough council.
Leader of the council Councillor Sean Woodward said: ‘The enterprise zone is going to provide thousands of high paid engineering jobs for the Fareham and Gosport area.
‘We’re doing everything we can to support that.’
The zone is one of 24 set up nationally to support local economic and employment growth. By 2026, it’s estimated that 3,500 jobs will be created, turning the area into a destination of choice for businesses within the marine, aerospace and aviation sectors.
Councillor Keith Evans, executive member for planning and development, said: ‘Everyone is very pleased that we have seen investment down at Daedalus and that it will create employment and educational opportunities.
‘It should all come together nicely. It shows great commitment from the council and other government agencies.’