A MAJOR £6.6m extension to a thriving business hub has been approved – paving the way to creating nearly 300 jobs.
Councillors unanimously greenlit proposals for the work to Fareham Innovation Centre, at Daedalus, in a meeting of Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee yesterday in the Civic Offices.
It’s a fantastic facility that we have developed there and this extension is in response to the increasing demand for space at the site.Councillor Sean Woodward
The three-storey extension to the centre, in Meteor Way, will extend the building on its north-eastern side to provide 3,400 sqm of new floor space, a roof terrace overlooking the airfield and more parking spaces.
It will provide enough space for 33 new offices and five workshops, with the council anticipating it will lead to a total of 292 being jobs created. The building is next to Fareham College’s Cemast.
Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of the council said: ‘It’s a fantastic facility that we have developed there and this extension is in response to the increasing demand for space at the site.
‘Businesses are very keen to work there. It’s a great site and it’s also right next to Cemast so it bodes well for students of the future as well.’
The plans came after the existing building was filled within months after it opened in April 2015.
Cllr Woodward revealed work on the site could begin next month, and would last for about 11 months.
A total of 120 businessmen and women from 27 different businesses currently work from the site in Lee-on-the-Solent.
The businesses include those in the marine and aerospace industries.
Stephen Brownlie, Solent regional manager for Oxford Innovation, who run the facility, said: ‘The decision to build an extension to the centre is excellent news for local businesses, inward investment and the flourishing knowledge economy here in south Hampshire and jobs in general.
‘The new building will more than double the size of the centre, enabling start-ups, early-stage firms and more established companies to work in a thriving, supportive environment.’
Councillor Trevor Cartwright, who also sits on the Daedalus Working Group, backed the scheme in the meeting.
Speaking at the committee, Cllr Catrwright said: ‘I think the existing centre has been a huge success and was soon full with months so we really need this extension. I think the plans for the centre are excellent.’