The Solent economy
The Solent economy has a population of over 1 million, including 600,000 of working age; over 50,000 businesses and a local GVA of £25 billion.
Part of the wider South East region it is anchored around the Isle of Wight, the two cities of Portsmouth and Southampton, the M27 corridor and the Solent waterway.
Shaped by its two ports and an airport that help deliver access to global markets it is positioned as the UK’s ‘Southern Gateway.’
The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership
The Solent LEP is led by the region’s business community and supported by the public sector, including universities and further education establishments.
It has six priority areas for investment: Skills; Business Support; Innovation; Infrastructure; Strategic Sectors; and Inward Investment and International Trade. The related activities and future plans are detailed in its Transforming Solent Growth Strategy.
To deliver these priority areas it has secured significant Government funding including:
- The Solent Growing Places Fund, a £16,739,000 fund to support infrastructure projects that unlock new jobs and homes in the Solent, is supporting large scale infrastructure projects such as road networks, service and utility installation and broadband provision
- The Solent Growth Deal 1 in 2014 secured £124.8m, with an extra £27.1m secured through Solent Growth Deal 2 and a further £31.02m under Local Growth Deal 3 in 2017 to invest in high profile projects
Solent LEP Investment in Gosport
In addition to a number of Gosport businesses securing grants of tens of thousands of pounds the Solent LEP has invested millions of pounds into Gosport. This investment includes:
- Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus – one of 46 EZs established across the country that will create a new cluster of engineering and manufacturing businesses with a focus on the aviation, aerospace and marine sectors
- Fareham/Gosport Multiyear Programme – road improvements to provide better linkages between the M27 and the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus, plus improve access around the wider Gosport peninsula
Gosport is also a priority for future Solent LEP investment e.g.
- Stubbington By-Pass that will provide a new alternative route to the Gosport peninsula to relieve the congestion on the existing main road link to/from the M27
- Gosport Waterfront (the area overlooking Portsmouth Harbour) – is identified as a priority site as part of the productivity and growth agenda for the Solent. It includes a number of areas where there is an opportunity to intensify marine related employment generating uses, due to the ability to access deep water
Gosport Infrastructure Investment Plan
This SLEP commissioned plan was published in February 2019 and provides a framework for further infrastructure investment in Gosport. See Infrastructure Investment.