Ex-navy base has potential to be a world-class centre

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THOSE behind a £5m drive to revitalise the former HMS Daedalus airbase say they want to turn it into a ‘world-class manufacturing centre’.

The site at Lee-on-the-Solent has been given the cash by the Regional Generation Fund (RGF), as reported in The News earlier this week.

There are now plans to turn it into a major hub for marine, aviation and aerospace business.

Half the money at Daedalus will go towards improving the runway, while the rest will be used to provide grants for businesses which plan to come to the 202-acre site or are already there.

Gary Jeffries, director of Solent LEP, which bid for the cash, said: ‘We put Daedalus forward for consideration as an Enterprise Zone knowing the enormous potential which could be unlocked.

‘The announcement that the Enterprise Zone benefits will now be combined with RGF investment brings the site one step closer to becoming the world-class advanced manufacturing centre we are aiming to create.’

Back in August this year, Daedalus became the first designated enterprise zone in the south.

The move meant it would be entitled to business rate discounts and simplified planning rules, as well as potential access to government funding.

Bids for a share of the Daedalus cash will be overseen by the Solent LEP.

It comes as the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust has also secured £1.2m from the RGF for a pair of projects – a boatbuilding college and studios for new businesses.

And a bid by the Solent LEP, backed by The News, has secured a £2.1m grant to help create jobs and boost South Hampshire’s economy.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the funding for Daedalus, saying: ‘I am pleased the government has recognised the potential Gosport has to drive economic growth.

‘The new jobs created by this government funding will be a major benefit for the local community and I look forward to the Daedalus Enterprise Zone flourishing as a centre of aviation engineering and marine excellence in its own right.’