Today’s Budget announcement, giving the go-ahead for a regional Solent Freeport, has been welcomed by Eastleigh Borough Council. The scheme will include a site alongside Southampton Airport.
The authority’s Cabinet last week confirmed its support for the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) bid to Government to create three locations in the region with Freeport status.
Responding to today’s announcement in the Chancellor’s Budget speech, Councillor Keith House, Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, said: “This is great news for the regional economy and will provide a much-needed boost as we develop post-Brexit trading relationships. The Solent Freeport should generate £2 billion in investment and more than 50,000 jobs across the area.
“The Council’s Cabinet gave the LEP bid its unanimous backing as the Freeport will play an important role in the ‘levelling up’ agenda, boosting prosperity in disadvantaged communities that have been hit particularly hard by the COVID pandemic.
“The excellent air, road and rail communications of the Eastleigh Riverside site will prove a major asset for the Solent Freeport and we look forward to providing our ongoing support as it takes shape.”
The 130-hectare (320-acre) Eastleigh Riverside/Southampton International Airport North East Business Park site identified for the development stretches from the north-east corner of the airport to Bishopstoke Road. It was previously earmarked as an Enterprise Zone.
As part of their support for the LEP bid, Councillors reaffirmed their backing for the construction of a new road to bypass Eastleigh town centre (the Chickenhall Lane Link Road, which the Council has previously campaigned for).
- A Freeport is a secure customs zone where business can be carried out inside the UK’s land border, but where different customs rules apply to deliver a competitive advantage. It simplifies customs procedures and reduces bureaucracy and tariff controls for both imports and exports; it also provides relief from duties and import taxes.