Good news for enterprise zone, but still a lot to do

At risk? Type 26 frigates

Defence commitee voices concerns over MoD’s ability to save £7bn

Have your say

With so many agencies, local authorities and other interested parties involved in any long-term project, there is always a concern that the old adage about too many cooks will be applicable.

And with a site like the former HMS Daedalus base that straddles Fareham and Gosport boroughs, it has been a genuine worry for an area that is of huge strategic significance.

Since the airfield and its surrounding areas became the Solent Enterprise Zone, there has been an awful lot of talk about bringing jobs and investment to the area.

And with the £12m Fareham College Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Advanced Skills Training (CEMAST) about to open, we can finally start to see the fruits of all that talking.

However, this is only a start. And it is why the transfer of land from the Home and Communities Agency to Fareham Borough Council should be seen as a positive step.

There is also to be the development of a new £5m innovation centre near the college site that will contain office and workshop facilities, in a bid to draw skilled staff to the region.

Not to mention investment in new hangar space and improvements to the runway due to take place before the end of the year.

While this is all good news, there is still the lingering problem of traffic and infrastructure.

Fareham Borough Council’s leader, Cllr Sean Woodward, has often talked of the enterprise zone bringing thousands of jobs to the area. But we can’t get carried away with those words until these hurdles have been crossed.

The region around Daedalus is one that suffers significantly with congestion, so trying to attract new business to an area plagued by this problem will be difficult.

Wheels are moving on the long-awaited Stubbington bypass, but that has yet to receive planning permission, or the money to fund it.

Things are heading in the right direction, but it is far too early for anyone to be resting on their laurels just yet.

For the full story click here.