New business hub could bring jobs to north of Portsmouth

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COUNCIL officials are exploring whether a derelict employment site could be transformed into a business hub for up-and-coming companies.

The local authority is considering buying the empty Paulsgrove Industrial Centre, in Southampton Road, Portsmouth, and using it to create a enterprise centre where new firms can get support and have space to work.

The idea was brought to the table by Paulsgrove’s Ukip councillor, Stuart Potter, who wants to see the scheme particularly benefiting the automotive and manufacturing industries.

And city MP Penny Mordaunt has praised the move, saying it is positive the council is taking regeneration seriously and wanting to create more jobs.

‘It is good to see, at long last, the council being proactive in regenerating areas of the city, especially in the north,’ said Ms Mordaunt.

She said private investors were interested a few years ago in creating a technical college heavily connected with local industry on the site, but the plans never came to light.

Ms Mordaunt also hopes that renewed interest in neighbourhood plans – which gives residents the chance to decide what form of development they want in their area – will help the land be used appropriately.

The premises, near Tesco’s North Harbour store, is up for sale for £3m and being marketed by Hellier Langston.

Cllr Potter said: ‘I was just coming out of Tesco one day and saw the building was boarded up. When I found out it was up for sale I thought it would make a cracking enterprise centre.’

Cllr Luke Stubbs, Tory cabinet member for regeneration, said the authority would only snap up the site if it knew it could get its money back and gain extra income through lease deals with companies.

‘The council has a role in job creation and an enterprise centre on Southampton Road could be part of that,’ he said.

‘A word of warning, though – creating new centres is expensive and generally requires public subsidy. The council has to be hard-headed when deciding how to spend public funds and will only be able to proceed on this if there is no net cost to the local taxpayer.’

Labour ward councillor John Ferrett said the scheme was interesting but he would need to see more details.