Portsmouth area hopes to clinch more money for road improvements

Chancellor Philip Hammond holding his red ministerial box outside 11 Downing Street, London, before heading to the House of Commons to deliver his Budget

City Labour MP slams budget for ‘failing Portsmouth’

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BUSINESS and political leaders from the Portsmouth region were back on the case for more government money today.

While the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership has been earmarked £124.8m over the next five years towards road improvements, it’s eager to clinch more.

Another application is now being prepared to help top up the pot of cash it’s been pledged in the hope the local economy can be boosted further.

As previously reported in The News, the money that’s been pledged will help improve connections to future major future employment sites. That will then give companies the confidence to move to those areas and invest.

From next April, the LEP will have £46m of the £12.48m to start improving connections to the Gosport peninsula and begin work on the new Stubbington bypass.

Sean Woodward, Solent LEP director, said: ‘This is a fantastic downpayment, but we obviously need more.’

Announcement of the deal came on the back of a News campaign urging ministers to give the Solent LEP a slice of a £10bn pot of cash that’s been made available until 2020.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage welcomed the fact her constituency will be given a boost.

‘Not only would this new road cut travelling times for long-suffering commuters, it would also make our area more attractive to investors and help to create jobs locally,’ she said.

Leaders spoke to The News about the importance of the deal at an event held at the top of the Spinnaker Tower yesterday.

Cllr John Ferrett, Labour group leader, said: ‘We need new jobs and homes, and any investment from central government is welcome given the problems we are facing with the closure of shipbuilding in the city.’

Minister for Portsmouth, Michael Fallon, said the money would help provide better access for motorists all across South Hampshire.

Councillor Donna Jones, city council leader, said: ‘The benefits to Portsmouth are really going to help shape the future of the community.’