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Airfield investment helps growth take off at Enterprise Zone

Published date : 7 January 2013

Plans to attract advanced aerospace and aviation companies to the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus, South Hampshire, have received a further boost thanks to an investment by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The HCA has acquired the airfield from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and has plans to invest in improvements to the runway and associated facilities at the Enterprise Zone. The £1.52m investment will provide extra confidence to specialist companies who are based on or moving onto the site. Previously, access to the airfield was limited under a temporary lease.

The move has been welcomed by businesses currently based at The Solent Enterprise Zone.

Steve Ford, Managing Director of Sapphire Aviation, which has recently moved onto the site said:

“This is great news for us as a business. Knowing our access to the airfield and runway is guaranteed means we can plan ahead for the future, in confidence that we will be able to use the facilities and grow.”

The HCA is currently creating a plan for management of the runway and facilities at the airfield over the next few years. It also hopes to secure a licence for the airfield which would allow it to be used for a wider range of activities and by a wider range of craft.

Peter Cusdin, Development Director at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), said:

“The acquisition provides a real degree of certainty for existing occupiers and other businesses potentially moving to the Enterprise Zone. Add this to other benefits of the site, such as the existing local skills base in the area, business rate discounts for employers moving to or expanding on the site, investment in infrastructure and planned on-site training facilities, and we really are on track to create a hub for advanced engineering and aerospace businesses in South Hampshire.”

The MCA has retained an area on the site, from which it will continue helicopter and coastal search and rescue operations.

Gary Jeffries, director of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which is responsible for delivering the Enterprise Zone, added:

“Access to the airfield is key to aerospace and aviation businesses looking to move to the site. By securing this access we are sending a clear message to these companies that we are able to support them in the long-term and provide them with the facilities they need to prosper.”

Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council and Chairman of the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH), Councillor Seán Woodward, said:

“To have an operational airfield is a unique offer in an enterprise zone. We are absolutely committed to the continuation of aviation at the zone and to have the runways in local ownership and management is crucial. The next job is to secure funding to resurface and re-light the runway."

Councillor Mark Hook, Leader of Gosport Borough Council, said:

“This is positive news for the Gosport peninsular. The increased access to the airfield will attract more businesses and therefore create more jobs locally.”

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