Described as ‘the first stage of the freeport’, which is expected to attract billions of pounds’ worth of investment to the region, the site-specific agreement sets out arrangements for the tax site – one of three tax sites with a total of 10 site owners approved through the bid.
Formal tax status for the business park will be awarded by the end of March following a statutory instrument to be laid before Parliament for 21 days.
The Solent Freeport as a whole will create up to 53,000 jobs over 25 years and it is forecast to bring between £1.5bn and £2.2bn in economic benefits to the region a 6% increase in GVA.
The city council has commissioned support from Colliers to help carry out an assessment for this, while advice has also been provided by KPMG and Paris Smith Solicitors through Solent Freeport.
Cllr Hugh Mason, Cabinet member for City Development at Portsmouth City Council said,
‘I don’t think it’s possible to overestimate the importance of this. We have long been at the forefront of a large number of industries, especially high tech industries. The type of benefits which we see here will attract advanced industry to come to our area. This is probably the most important thing we’re doing today.’