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New business recovery plan unveiled by Solent LEP

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A NEW plan has been unveiled by a business partnership hoping to kickstart the region’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) revealed its updated economic recovery plan which “puts health and wellbeing” at the heart of the area’s upturn.

The LEP offers three key stages as part of its plan – survival, stability and growth – to ensure “resources are directed where they will be most effective”.

One of the key initiatives to support the recovery is the proposed “intelligent merchant city” on the site of the former Fawley power station.

A CGI of Fawley Waterside's plans for the Fawley power station site
A CGI of Fawley Waterside's plans for the Fawley power station site

As reported in the A&T, consortium Fawley Waterside has proposed a nearly £1bn development on the site, comprising 1,500 homes and commercial properties. The scheme has been approved in outline by both by New Forest District Council and the national park authority.

Brian Johnson, chair of Solent LEP, said the past year had been incredibly tough for businesses: “As we begin to see signs of recovery, our team is focusing on helping the local economy to stabilise and move forward.

“With a track record of innovation, and as the home to world-class research assets, the Solent region is ideally placed to capture new opportunities. This will not only accelerate the pace of economic recovery but also lead to improvements in productivity in the long term.

“Our economic recovery plan details how we will work with partners, government and our business community to ensure the Solent not only remains very much open for business, but also makes the most of its critical role in strengthening the UK’s trading relationship with the world.”

A watercolour of updated proposals for the Fawley power station site (47247443)
A watercolour of updated proposals for the Fawley power station site (47247443)

Mr Johnson added that the impact of the pandemic had not been felt evenly.

“Some businesses are still very much in survival mode and in need of the critical support we are providing, while some are ready to move on to new ways of working and are looking at how to build resilience.

“Our plan supports ‘levelling up’ within our region and with the rest of the UK, and recognises the importance of ensuring economic growth is inclusive.”

He added: “The recent news that our region will be one of the UK’s new freeports is another welcome initiative that will help to drive recovery and growth over the medium to long


Solent LEP’s bid for the area to be a freeport was approved by chancellor Rishi Sunak in March. It includes Marchwood industrial estate and Exxon at Fawley, as well as Southampton, its airport and a site in Havant.

The updated economic recovery plan can be found online at bit.ly/3yg72pM

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