CRITICS have spoken out against plans to build a new business park without improvements to roads in Gosport.
As reported in The News last week, Eric Pickles, the local government secretary announced £25m will be invested at the former HMS Daedalus airfield.
But now concerns have been raised that congestion on the A32 may put off businesses relocating to the site.
Cllr Peter Chegwyn, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Gosport, said: ‘All precious new jobs are welcome, but there are no plans to improve the A32 or build the Stubbington Bypass.
‘We’ve got to improve the roads or we won’t get interest into Gosport. Firms have got to get their goods in and out, or even just their staff.
‘We’ve got to improve the roads before we will get significant investment.’
The site will specialise in maritime and aviation businesses and planners hope that it will bring new jobs to Gosport.
Along with the new businesses on the site, Fareham College will support 200 apprenticeships and teach 600 students a year in the proposed Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Advanced Skills Training.
But Cllr Chegwyn is concerned that the jobs might not appear nor will they be the right ones for the area.
‘Not a single new job has been confirmed. There are people who want to move there but can’t,’ said Cllr Chegwyn.
‘Any new jobs are welcome but we need to keep the ones we’ve got. Jobs are critically important to Gosport. It needs more than a flying visit from a government minister who promises the earth – they need to actually deliver.
‘Maritime and aviation are specialised jobs and people would commute in to Gosport, not bring jobs in, which we need.’
The council remains committed to the project that will also see 90 new homes on the site.
Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport council, remains optimistic about the plans, claiming there is no need to change the A32.
He said: ‘It’s quite insulting to say there’s insufficient ability in the area. We had advanced aviation jobs here for before and we need to create them again.’
‘The problem with the A32 is too many outward commuters from Gosport. The solution is not to create a dual carriageway. We need to make jobs,’ he added.
‘It’s a shortsighted view to build a dual carriageway - we don’t need to improve the A32 – we need to create jobs on the peninsula.’
Planners hope to provide access to the M27 from the site via Newgate lane.
by BEN FISHWICK