PLANS to create thousands of jobs and homes at the gateway to Portsmouth have taken a step closer today.
Contracts for the transfer of land around Tipner and Horsea Island in Portsmouth from the Ministry of Defence to the city council are to be exchanged.
The handover was part of a financial package made up by the government for Portsmouth in the form of a City Deal.
Portsmouth was last year awarded £48m to help build 2,370 houses and a 58,000sq m business hub for the marine and advanced manufacturing sector on the plots of land creating 3,700 new jobs.
The contract exchange now means the land can be handed over – subject to the council carrying out environmental surveys – and work can get started.
Minister for Portsmouth Matthew Hancock, who today announced the latest progress, said: ‘A key part of my job is to get things moving at a senior level in government.
‘The Tipner Ranges-Horsea East transfer we are announcing today is a key part of implementing the City Deal, and I did not want any time to be lost.
‘The City Deal will play a vital role in bringing investment into the Portsmouth area and creating future jobs.’
It is anticipated the deal will attract up to £1bn of investment from the private sector to enable the project to happen.
Councillor Donna Jones, Tory leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘The City Deal gives us the means to achieve our ambition of opening up these sites at the gateway to the city.
‘With the right transport infrastructure in place we can attract developers to the sites and create much-needed homes and jobs.
‘Along with the new M275 junction for the park and ride, this is a great step forward in this project.’
Portsmouth’s City Deal, which includes benefits for Southampton, was signed last year by cities minister Greg Clark along with then leader of the council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson and local figures.
The MoD could move the firing range in Tipner to Longmoor Military Camp.