The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) today (10 May) met with Solent MPs at Westminster, where details of a Strategic Transport Investment Plan for the Solent were revealed.
In January 2015 the Solent LEP published their Transforming Solent Growth Strategy which outlines a vision for the future growth of the local economy. Having successfully secured £151.9 m under the Solent Growth Deal the LEP has continued to work hard to help this world-class area to realise its ambitions.. Central to this vision for the Solent is the need for a modern and resilient transport network that can enable the area to fulfil its economic potential by providing the conditions that enable businesses and people to thrive and productivity to increase.
The Solent LEP recognises that it cannot afford to ignore the critical role that transport infrastructure and operations play in connecting key economic inputs - housing, skills, investment and innovation - and has therefore been working with local partners across all sectorsto produce a Strategic Transport Investment Plan that can support the area including its two majorcities Southampton and Portsmouth and the wider Solent, including the Isle of Wight, to succeed and grow in a globally competitive economic environment.
The Solent LEP met with Solent MPs in Westminster today to discuss the plan which outlines a series of transformative, evidence-based proposals and highlights a range of transport solutions that can act as the focal point of a strategy for ensuring that the region can continue to attract inward investment, develop business clusters, nurture local skills and talent, and build on existing assets in order for the area to successfully compete with similarly sized conurbations in the UK and abroad, and deliver a transport system befitting of the size, strength and aspiration of the region.
Flick Drummond, MP for Portsmouth South, said:
This plan is an ambitious blueprint for the future of the local economy and will set out the investment that we need to unlock the economic potential of Portsmouth and the wider Solent area in the years to come.We need to improve the links from our highly skilled industries with the rest of the UK and the world and a well performing transport infrastructure is vital for our continued economic growth.
Here in Portsmouth we have a port that is one of the three international gateways in the Solent area that opens up a wealth of opportunities for investment and commerce with the rest of the world. Linking it up with the rest of the country in terms of better freight and passenger services has to be a priority.
The Solent has the most urbanised areas in the South of England outside London. It needs improved rail and road links both between Portsmouth and Southampton and onwards to London that are fit for purpose for the years to come.
Gary Jeffries, Chairman of Solent LEP, said:
The Strategic Transport Investment Plan provides a framework within which we can accelerate the delivery of the Solent Strategic Economic Plan, increasing productivity in the area and enabling the economy and people of the Solent to achieve their full potential. We look forward to continuing to work with the business community, individual businesses and local key partners, as well as central government and its agencies on increasing productivity in the Solent.
A copy of the Solent Strategic Transport Investment Plan can be found here.