LEP's hopes for future

Chimichanga at Port Solent. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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An economic group which hopes to promote skills, business support, transport, regeneration, investment and housing in the Solent region will develop a full business plan by April.

Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), was created in October, to replace the South East England Development Agency.

It aims to cover the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Southampton and south Hampshire, and promote economic growth.

Its 10-person 'shadow board' appointed to establish the LEP and set out its business plan, includes Portsmouth City Council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, John Craven, vice chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, and Cllr Sen Woodward, chairman of the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire.

Cllr Woodward said: 'One of our early responsibilities will be to oversee the co-ordination of bids to the Regional Growth Fund - a discretionary 1.4bn fund that will operate for three years between 2011 and 2014 to stimulate enterprise by providing support for projects and programmes.'