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£500m investment secured to drive growth in the Solent

30 January 2015

The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership has agreed an expansion to its Growth Deal with the Government which will see an extra £27.1m invested in the Solent area between 2016 and 2021.

This is in addition to the £124.8m of funding committed by the Government on 7 July 2014.

Over the lifetime of the Solent Local Growth Deal (2015-2021), the £151.9m investment has the potential to create up to 6000 new jobs; enable 11000 new homes to be built and generate up to £400m public and private investment.

Projects to be funded with the £27.1m investment announced today include:

  • The next phase of work to improve transport and infrastructure in the Fareham and Gosport Peninsula, which will cut journey times, attract new businesses to the area and support the Solent Enterprise Zone and new housing delivery at Welborne.
  • Bringing forward a National Maritime Systems Centre of Excellence in Portsmouth, creating up to 95 jobs and developing skills in a key sector for the area.
  • Improving access to Southampton Western Docks, one of England’s largest trade ports.
  • A flexible programme of skills and innovation projects, to improve skills and promote innovation in the Solent area.

This adds to the projects that were announced in July 2014, which include transport improvements at North Whiteley, Cross-Solent connectivity improvements, two skills centres at Eastleigh and the Isle of Wight College, and a Solent Growth Fund to offer grant funding for local small and medium sized businesses.

In addition to the direct investment through the Local Growth Deal, the Solent LEPs negotiations with Government have resulted in securing commitments for a range of strategic transport schemes in and around the Solent area during 2014. These are estimated to be worth around two thirds (£400m) of the entire Highways Agency budget for the Central South. Schemes included in this Government spending are:

  • M3 junctions 9 to 14: upgrading to smart motorway, linking with the smart motorway scheme on the M27.
  • M27 junctions 4 (M3 Interchange) to 11 (Fareham): upgrading to smart motorway, linking with the smart motorway scheme on the M3.
  • M3 junction 9 (A34, Winchester) improvement: comprehensive package of improvements, to include new links and widening and remodelling of junction 9 to allow more free-flowing connections and reduce congestion.
  • M3 junction 10 (Winchester) to 11 (Winchester North) improved slip roads: improvements for merging traffic to include technology, widening and lane realignment to smooth flow of traffic onto the M3 and assist flow to Southampton port.
  • M3 junctions 12 (Chandler's Ford) to 14 (M27 Interchange) improved slip roads: junction 14 (M27 interchange) to junction 12 (Eastleigh) northbound: carriageway widening and junction reconfiguration to improve capacity through the junction.
  • M27 Southampton junctions: junction 5 (Southampton Airport) to junction 8 (A3024): widening and signalisation of slip roads and access routes to junction 8, and replacement of rail bridges in Southampton (on local road network) to reduce pressure on the motorway.
  • M271 / A35 Redbridge roundabout upgrade: junction improvements to provide a dedicated left turn lane for traffic leaving the M271 for Southampton Port and free flow traffic from the port onto the M271.

Gary Jeffries, Chair of the Solent LEP, said:

"We are delighted that the Government has backed our ability to deliver transformational growth locally by devolving funds to the area. The funding announced brings the total secured through our Growth Deal to over £150m and this additional money will allow us to build on our initial deal with a further 1000 jobs and 1000 homes. That's on top of the 5,000 jobs and 10,000 homes already announced and is another milestone for us in helping the Solent realise its true potential."

Cllr Simon Letts, Solent LEP Director and Leader of Southampton City Council said:

"The Port of Southampton is a major strategic asset for the Southampton, Solent and wider UK economy and the funds announced today will build on the recent good news the city has seen in the Autumn Statement for major road improvements at Redbridge and on the M3 by ensuring that that we can also enhance the access routes to the western docks. Together, this package of upgrades will have a big impact by allowing us to facilitate the projected growth at the Port and keep the City infrastructure running for Southampton businesses and residents alike."

Cllr Donna Jones, Solent LEP Director and Leader of Portsmouth City Council said:

"The additional funding announced today is the latest in a series of wins for Portsmouth and our world class defence cluster. It builds on Portsmouth Minister, Matthew Hancock's opening of the UK Centre for Maritime Intelligent Systems at Portsdown Technology Park and Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon's announcement of a new programme to upgrade the Spearfish Torpedo at the BAE UK Centre for Torpedoes. All of these are great successes in their own right, but together, they are making our ambition to establish Portsmouth as the global centre of excellence for the Defence industry of the future a reality."

Dave Lees, Solent LEP Business Director and Infrastructure Lead, said:

"The announcement today is extremely positive in allowing the LEP to build on our initial Local Growth Deal award, however, just as importantly are the investments we have been able to secure from Government departments in our local infrastructure network. This is a great start in improving connectivity in the Solent, but there is much more to do and it is critical that we secure commitment on a date for Smart Motorways investment on the M27 to begin as soon as possible."

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