The Government has announced a £15.9 million fund for the Solent to help deliver ‘shovel-ready’ projects. The ‘Getting Building Fund’ allocation will help the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) bring forward a first wave of investments that will drive economic recovery at a local level.
In response to the economic fallout caused by COVID-19 on the region, the Solent LEP has been engaging with local partners to draw up a road map of £1 billion worth of investments that will spearhead growth moving forwards. Collaboratively the LEP has developed a pipeline of 68 projects to help kick-start the road to recovery in the Solent, actively working towards getting them off the ground and seeking investment from the Government's Getting Building Fund.
The funding will enable an initial package of 'shovel-ready' projects from this pipeline to come forward and the LEP is now actively working with partners to identify the first projects to receive investment.
Solent LEP chief executive Anne-Marie Mountifield said: “The response to opportunities under the Fund from the Solent area is extremely encouraging and demonstrates the continued depth and breadth of our economy even in times of great adversity.
“Today's announcement is positive news for the Solent and represents a good start in enabling us to bring forward initial investment in our project pipeline. We will be prioritising projects that spearhead a revolution in recovery and which support our local businesses and key sectors. We hope to bring forward a range of exciting investments that will have an impact beyond their much-needed direct economic benefit of enhancing jobs, homes and skills, and provide a wider stimulus to drive growth in the future.
“We also remain committed to working with local partners and the Government to secure further funding for the Solent in the coming months that will bring forward the next wave of investments in our project pipeline to stimulate economic recovery.”
Projects under consideration for funding include enhanced zero emissions cruise facilities at the Port of Southampton.
ABP’s regional director at the Port of Southampton, Alastair Welch, said: “Each cruise call in Southampton is worth £2.7m to the wider economy and as Europe’s leading cruise turn-around port, we’re confident about the future of cruise following the disruption the industry has seen, as a result of the pandemic.
“We welcome the news of the Government’s commitment to support cruise in Southampton. We continue to work with the LEP to explore all opportunities enabling further investment into facilities that support continued growth and success of this key industry for the city.”
Investment from this Fund will build on the Solent LEPs existing capital investment programme; including the £9.2m investment announced in June 2020 to bring forward the Centre for Creative and Immersive eXtended Reality in Portsmouth and enhancements to the A326 to catalyse growth on the Fawley peninsula in the New Forest.