Plans in place to improve transport infrastructure

Havant MP Alan Mak with FatFace chief executive Anthony Thompson and infrastructure director Simon Ratcliffe

ALAN MAK: My delight at FatFace’s £5m investment in Havant

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Flick Drummond MP for Portsmouth South

I was delighted to lead a debate in Parliament last week on the poor state of our rail services from Portsmouth.

This is something we all suffer from whether we are daily commuters facing difficulties getting to work, or occasional travellers off on a day trip.

I am working with Portsmouth City Council, Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and transport campaign groups to bring about a more sustainable transport solution for our city. The plan is radical, and it will require investment. But I think we have an excellent case for securing it.

We are a city with areas of deep poverty. But we suffer from the misconception that all parts of the south are awash with prosperity and excellent infrastructure. As a result, we have sometimes missed out on the support we need and are entitled to from central government.

I want to create a pouthern Powerhouse, centred on Portsmouth. Our area lags the wider south-east in productivity by 15 per cent at the moment, even though we have seen huge numbers of new jobs created in recent years.

To drive forwards, and to create more high-skill, high-wage jobs, we need better infrastructure and better transport links for businesses.

There are already plans to upgrade parts of the rail network in the region to the high-voltage overhead system used nationally.

To bring high speed rail from London to Portsmouth, trains would run via Eastleigh and the line to Fareham and on into Portsmouth.

We could also have higher speed trains on the vital coastal route from Brighton, Portsmouth and Southampton.

This is an ambitious plan for the longer term, but I am working hard to progress it. As well as that, in the short term we have the renewal of the franchise in our area coming up.

This gives us an opportunity to challenge bidders to provide better services to catch up with the quality of service others already enjoy.