Moves to provide hundreds of training posts and jobs in South Hampshire have taken a major step forward today as plans to build a £12 million college facility and improved road links at the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus were given the green light by planning councillors.
Fareham Borough Council has approved Fareham College’s planning application for a new centre of excellence for engineering, manufacturing and advanced skills training to be based at the entrance to the Enterprise Zone.
Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (Solent LEP) has welcomed the decision as “a huge boost for the Solent Enterprise Zone”.
Gary Jeffries, director of Solent LEP, which is responsible for delivering the Enterprise Zone, said: “This is great news for young people in Gosport and Fareham and for businesses, the community and the local economy as a whole. By the summer, work will start on both a new main gateway to the Enterprise Zone and on the new centre, and it’s exciting to think that in just over a year, the new centre will be up and running and welcoming students. It is a huge boost for the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus as a hub for marine and aerospace engineering and manufacturing businesses.”
Providing courses for around 900 students per year, the state-of-the-art facility will meet a vital training need for local employers on the Enterprise Zone and across Fareham and Gosport.
The flagship centre is expected to create and safeguard 135 temporary jobs during construction, which is due to start in the summer, and a further 150 permanent jobs on site when it opens in September 2014.
As well as approving plans for the college building, councillors have given proposals for a new access point to the Enterprise Zone the go-ahead. The new access point will add a fourth arm to the junction of Broom Way and Cherque Way, and provide much improved access to the Enterprise Zone to support both existing businesses at Daedalus and those locating on the Zone in the future.
These planning decisions have been welcomed by partners working to deliver the Enterprise Zone’s ambition to create new jobs on the site.
Peter Marsh, deputy principal of Fareham College, said: “This exciting purpose-built centre will support the training of skilled engineers and help boost the local economy. With an impressive glazed frontage, a dynamic floating roof and the use of zinc and metallic cladding the design reflects the engineering focus of the Enterprise Zone; we are delighted that our plans have been approved.”
Fareham College’s 4,000 sq m building will be predominantly single storey. It will house specialist and general teaching areas including workshops and laboratories, a learning resource centre, conference facilities, staff area and cafe.
In addition, there will be a parking area with 140 car parking spaces, 15 motorcycle spaces and cycle provision for 60 cycles. There will be a drop off area and mini-bus parking space, external stores and compressor, landscaping provision and a leisure and sports enclosure.
The centre will provide for a mix of full-time and part-time students, employer-sponsored students and apprentices. Training will be offered from foundation (level 1) through to higher national diploma, providing opportunities for students to progress into university education or a job.
Fareham College is currently planning new ways of connecting local employers with students and apprentices who are looking for work.