Joy as millions of pounds granted for development in Portsmouth area

Sean Woodward
Sean Woodward

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THIS money will change the face of our area – that’s the message from leaders after millions of pounds have been pledged towards major regeneration schemes.

The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has secured £124.8m from the government to fund vast improvements to region’s transport network.

The Solent LEP had originally bid for £300m, but there was intense competition from 39 other LEPs for a share of the £10bn Local Growth Fund.

From next April the LEP will have £46m to improve road connections to the Gosport peninsula and future town of Welborne.

The money will also go towards designing a new Stubbington by-pass.

A further £78.8m has been allocated for 2016/17 onwards.

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘Nobody ever gets everything they ask for in life.

‘In the end we submitted a bid for £200m. It was very over-subscribed, and to get £125m is fantastic news.

‘The government has sent out a strong statement of support for our multi-year investment programme to support the developments at Welborne and the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus.

‘This will allow us to get working at the earliest possible opportunity and we will be working with the government to finalise details on the next phase of funding.

‘This is to ensure we can secure the jobs, homes and transport improvements that Fareham and the Gosport peninsular need both to improve the road infrastructure for existing residents and businesses and to support the Solent LEP growth strategy,’

The announcement - which has been welcomed by political and business leaders - comes on the back of a News campaign urging ministers, such as Lord Heseltine and ministers Greg Clark, Robert Goodwill and Kris Hopkins. to give the award to the LEP.

A £5m grant towards redeveloping The Hard Interchange, in Portsmouth, and another £5m to help transform Dunsbury Hill Farm in Havant into an industrial site, creating up to 3,500 jobs, has also been announced.

Portsmouth City Council leader Councillor Donna Jones said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted it’s all going ahead.

‘This money will change the face our area.

‘When we knew there was this growth fund available, the Solent LEP put in a very high initial bid of £300m, but they knew they wouldn’t get all of it.

‘There was room to still get a lot of money, which is what we have done and I’m not disappointed by the sum we have been given.

‘This money will improve transport connections, bring in 10,000 new jobs, 6,000 homes in Whiteley, and it’s all going to happen very fast.’

‘The Welborne development is really important for Portsmouth because it’s literally one junction away on the motorway and many Portsmouth people may go and work there.

‘The Dunsbury Hill site is also so important, and a great example of the public and private sectors working together. In terms of Portsmouth itself, the biggest thing people will notice is the new Hard Interchange.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘This is great news for the area and will really help to shape things for the better.’