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Date Committee Title
THURSDAY, 17 APRIL 2014 ECONOMY AND TOURISM EXECUTIVE ADVISORY COMMITTEE SOLENT LOCAL ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIP (LEP) – TRANSFORMING SOLENT (SOLENT STRATEGIC ECONOMIC PLAN)
1. The Solent LEP was formed after Government offered local areas the opportunity to take control of their economic development. It was formed in 2011 and is a partnership organisation between the business community, the Further Education and Higher Education sector, three unitary authorities (including the Isle of Wight Council), eight district councils and one county council, all of whom are working together to secure a more prosperous and sustainable future for the Solent area. 2. Its geographic area includes the Isle of Wight, the cities of Southampton and Portsmouth and the M27 corridor. It contains some 1.3m people and around 50,000 businesses and is an internationally recognised economic hub. 3. Following the publication of the Solent LEP Strategy for Growth in December 2012, the Government tasked the LEP with producing an Economic Strategy which has now been completed and submitted to Government. This can be viewed at: http://solentlep.org.uk/uploads/documents/Solent_Strategic_Economic_Plan.pdf 4. The LEP vision set out in the Strategy for Growth is to create an environment that will bring about sustainable economic growth and private sector investment in the Solent. It will assist this globally-competitive area reach its full potential, enabling existing businesses to grow, become more profitable and to be greener; enabling the creation of new businesses and attracting new businesses to the region. 5. The Plan sets out that the growth of the economy across the Solent LEP area will be progressed under six strategic priorities: • Enterprise - Supporting new businesses, enterprise and ensuring SME survival and growth. • Infrastructure - Enabling infrastructure priorities including land assets, transport and housing, reducing flood risk and improving access to superfast broadband.
• Inward Investment - Establishing a single inward investment model to encourage companies to open new sites in the region, supported by effective marketing. • Skills - Investing in skills to establish a sustainable pattern of growth, ensuring local residents are equipped to take up the jobs that are created and businesses can source local skills and labour to underpin growth. • Strategic Sectors - Developing strategic sectors and clusters (interconnected groups and businesses) of marine, aerospace and defence, advanced manufacturing, engineering, transport and logistics businesses, low carbon, digital and creative and the visitor economy – establishing the area as a business gateway, at both local and international levels and developing local supply chains. • Innovation – Building on our substantial knowledge assets to support innovation and build innovative capacity in the Solent area to stimulate growth in Solent businesses and in new high growth sectors, particularly linked to our HE excellence. 6. The plan includes targets for growth which include creating an additional 15,500 new jobs, 1,000 new businesses and build of 24,000 homes in the Solent area by 2020. The Plan recognises that in order for this to be achieved there will need to be transformational change and an investment plan worth £2.88bn is being developed. There are also targets to increase GVA by 3% a year, improve productivity closer to the South East average, increase employment rates and improve the business birth and survival rates. 7. The Solent LEP has already attracted over £18m through the Growing Places fund, £24m through the Regional Growth Fund and the Enterprise Zone in Gosport. The Southampton and Portsmouth City Deal, agreed in November 2013, will unlock £953m of investment into the Southampton and Portsmouth areas, creating more than 17,000 jobs. This will be supplemented by the Local Growth Deal, which if successful will provide the LEP with a role, alongside other partners, in prioritising and funding growth and infrastructure projects from 2015 (including those Island specific projects listed under paragraph 8 below). These interventions, combined with the proposed £78m EU investments, will allow partners in the Solent to deliver a long-term growth plan for the area, based on its economic realities and needs. 8. The Strategy includes key development opportunities across the Solent LEP area which will require investment to unlock economic growth, job creation and additional private sector investment. A number of these projects are focussed on the Island and include: IW Enterprise Zone A significant area of the Isle of Wight has been provisionally designated as an Assisted Area within the current review and it is hoped this is confirmed later this year. A supply of available sites, preferably with suitable incentives, is vital to make best use of the status. The Strategy proposes to designate a portfolio of sites for a local Enterprise Zone within Cowes and East Cowes and establish an Isle of Wight Infrastructure expansion fund to assist companies coming forward with suitable investment which will create badly needed jobs on the Island.
Red Funnel - East Cowes/Southampton This project seeks funding for the highways infrastructure needed to move the Red Funnel Ferry terminals on each side of the Solent. The project removes existing connectivity and capacity constraints on the visitor economy, while unlocking major employment sites in Southampton, and East Cowes. Specifically, the scheme asks the Solent LEP to fund the terminal access roads, cycling and walking routes, high quality waterfront areas, and a new ‘floating bridge’ between East and West Cowes, together with land assembly on the Southampton side. Red Funnel ferries have separately applied to the Growing Places Fund for a loan to fund the purchase of land from the HCA in East Cowes. Beyond that, Red Funnel ferries will pay for the new terminals and ferry upgrades. Isle of Wight Centre of Excellence for Composites, Advanced Manufacturing and Marine Technology The proposal is to develop a new Centre of Excellence for Composites, Advanced Manufacturing and Marine Technology on the Isle of Wight led by GKN (based on the CEMAST model). The centre will be an industrial training centre, led by GKN, at Island Technology Park, Whippingham, East Cowes (adjacent to GKN Research and Development facility), which will enable this site to be opened up to other employment opportunities. This new training facility would accommodate 550-600 learners. Isle of Wight College Estate Renewal and Refurbishment Funding will be used to carry out internal medium refurbishment to targeted facilities (many in Category C buildings) that fulfil the needs of LEP and priority local industrial sectors at a cost of £2,976,700. There would be refurbishment of facilities like hospitality and construction alongside creation of new ones such as a new Isle of Wight Business Communications and Conferencing Hub established within a new Business and HE Centre. The work will upgrade the external fabric and infrastructure of Category C buildings at the Isle of Wight College to prevent further degradation, improve their appearance and condition and to extend their life span. 9. Businesses on the Isle of Wight have already benefited from the Bridging the Gap fund and now have access to the recently launched Isle of Wight Expansion Fund. In addition a bid has also been put forward within the Plan to further Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills on the Island in partnership with schools and leading Island companies. 10. The Solent Strategic Economic Plan was submitted to Government on 31st March 2014 and the Council will need to frame the Island’s Economic Development Plan in the context of this document.
Contact Point: Ashely Curzon - Strategic Manager - Economic Development & Assets 01983 821000 - e-mail email@example.com JOHN METCALFE Head of Economy and Tourism