Solent economy set for a £700m boost thanks to Local Enterprise Partnership funding across Portsmouth, Fareham, and Havant

MORE than £700m will be pumped into the Solent region over the next decade thanks to a business and infrastructure funding scheme, according to a report.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 19th March 2021, 1:46 pm

The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) began granting £90m to 18 projects across the region in 2015, with the initial grants securing a further £140m in public and private funding.

Supported projects include the University of Portsmouth Future Technology Centre, The Hard Interchange, and BAE Marine Workshops.

In Fareham, the money has supported the Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering, as well as enabled improvements to St Margaret’s Roundabout and Newgate Lane South.

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An aerial view looking over Portsmouth, which has benefited from millions in funding thanks to the Solent LEP. Picture: Shaun Roster

In Havant, funds have gone towards Dunsbury Business Park and improvements along the A27.

Portsmouth City Council received £4.5m from the Solent LEP to build a new link road and enable the development of the Dunsbury Business Park, which now employs more than 400 people.

Now a review of the LEP’s work forecasts that it will bring a £700m boost to the Solent region, thanks to job creation and retention across the projects during the coming decade.

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Solent LEP chief executive Anne-Marie Mountifield said: ‘We remain a catalyst for development and prosperity during these uniquely challenging times.

‘The LEP has never been more in demand than in 2020 and the pandemic crisis prompted a huge rise in enquiries for business support. It is truly encouraging to see the positive impact the investments and funds are making to the development of the Solent.’

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the LEP has offered advice, crowdfunding schemes, and small grants to more than 1,900 businesses.

Brian Johnson, Solent LEP chairman, said: ‘2020 was an incredibly tough year for Solent businesses but we believe our area will recover stronger and the LEP remains committed to investing for the long-term growth of our economy.

‘It is fantastic to see such a significant outcome from our Local Growth Deal investments so far, but we are just getting started in our work to lead the areas recovery and back our businesses.’

Last month, The Solent LEP submitted a successful freeport proposal that would cut taxes and streamline paperwork. It was granted by chancellor Rishi Sunak at the budget.

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