Plans to improve Daedalus get the go-ahead

GROWING Daedalus could be upgraded to accommodate commercial aircraft
GROWING Daedalus could be upgraded to accommodate commercial aircraft
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MILLIONS of pounds could be spent to attract commercial air companies to Daedalus.

Last night Fareham councillors agreed to back ‘significant investment’ – worth millions – at the airstrip as part of the Solent Enterprise Zone.

If all parties concerned agree, the airstrip could become licensed, which means commercial airlines and business jets could land there. At the moment it is unlicensed so only light aircraft and private jets are allowed to use the landing strip.

The runways could be resurfaced and relit by as soon as next year, and a bigger hangar built which could house businesses or maintenance craft.

The money would be coming from the Homes and Community Agency and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

If these bodies agree to the plans, around 150 new jobs will be created.

Leader of Fareham Borough Council Sean Woodward said: ‘If the principle can be supported by all parties, and importantly if funding can be secured, then it would result in a substantial additional investment being injected into the Solent Enterprise Zone.’

An incubator unit for small business will be built to encourage start-up business, along the same lines as the Fairtec Centre at the Cams Hall Estate.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘At the moment the airfield is unlicensed.

‘To see business jets coming in and out of Fareham would be fantastic. Businesses at Daedalus could really fly if it could become licensed.

‘There’s a thriving aviation community already at the site.’

The 1,100m runway would be big enough to see planes like a BAe-146 or Bombardier Q400 land there, similar to the ones used by Flybe at Bournemouth.

Cllr Woodward said the Solent Enterprise would also strengthen the case for a Stubbington bypass.

Fareham College would also benefit as it is building a £12m college at the site specifically for engineering, manufacturing and advanced skills training.

Tory councillor Trevor Howard was watching the meeting and said: ‘It is very exciting, not just for Fareham but for the whole area. To have such a large emphasis on aerospace in Fareham is brilliant. It is a great advantage for aerospace and engineering at the college.’

Tory councillor Dennis Steadman added: ‘This is a significant investment, which is brilliant for the college.

‘There are too many people going to university for the wrong reasons and not enough vocational training like this will encourage.’