Marchwood Military Port Masterplan

MASTERPLAN: Ministers recommend selling off Marchwood Military Port, above, to boost the Solent economy. They also recommend highlighting Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup ambition.

MASTERPLAN: Ministers recommend selling off Marchwood Military Port, above, to boost the Solent economy. They also recommend highlighting Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup ambition.

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

SELLING a key Hampshire military base is a critical aim of an ambitious masterplan to breathe life into the Solent’s economy.

Top ministers say releasing Marchwood Military Port is crucial to “unlocking” the region’s maritime and economic fortunes.

Their recommendations were a key part of yesterday’s flagship Government report unveiling a new vision boosting growth, jobs and productivity in Southampton, Portsmouth and the wider area.

The blueprint also recommends promoting the area’s maritime excellence through Sir Ben Ainslie’s campaign to win the America’s cup from the Solent.

The work was commissioned by Minister for Portsmouth Michael Fallon and led by Rear Admiral Rob Stevens CB following last year’s shock announcement by BAE Systems to axe shipbuilding in Portsmouth with the loss of 1,000 jobs.

As previously reported, the Government revealed it will launch a “formal sale process” of the New Forest military port.

‘Unlock growth’ It is part of Ministry of Defence plans to raise £500m by disposing of sites across the UK.

Yesterday’s report states the port should be released “without delay” to “unlock growth” across Southamp-ton waterway and free up the Itchen riverside for marine manufacturing and residential development.

It identifies marine and maritime as the region’s largest sector and aims to reinvigorate the area’s global reputation for excellence through leadership, planning, new technologist and brand promotion.

But New Forest East MP Julian Lewis said: “Any commercial development must be in addition not in replacement to the enduring military function of the port.

“It should not cut across the sensitive area of the New Forest National Park or exceed the ability of the infrastructure to support it.”

The report, linked to the Solent Strategic Economic Plan, also recommends:

  •  Improving and increasing capacity transport links between and access to Southampton, Portsmouth and Marchwood ports;
  • Creating marine manufacturing hubs in both cities and the Isle of Wight for key firms to work more closely with councils, educational and research establishments;
  • Developing a national training centre to improve manufacturing techniques in the marine, oil, gas and construction industries;
  • Greater flexibility for Further Education (FE) colleges to adapt the national curriculum to meet local industry skills demands;
  • Creating five new science, technology, engineering mathematics (STEM) centres.

Business and civic leaders welcomed the announcements.

Southampton Itchen MP John Denham said: “We have a very strong maritime tradition and we should build on it.”

Solent LEP chief executive Gary Jeffries said it will make the region a globally recognised “centre of excellence”, and Hampshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stewart Dunn said the proposals would “transform” the region.

Comments (6)

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1:28pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Andy Locks Heath says...

All Waterside politicians seem capable of doing is talking airily about "plans". When ABP had a viable plan to create or sustain hundreds of jobs literally next door on reclaimed mud at Dibden Bay the very same politicans especially the well known job killers Julian Lewis and David Harrison screamed in terror. But So long as we just talk obliquely about some kind of vague proposal safely over the horizon and with all the usual buzzwords like "science park" or "centre of excellence" plus of the course the ubiquitous "Retail development" they are quite happy to put their names to it and get through the next election on the back of it. Look at what has gone and what has replaced it in the last 25 years. Nothing positive or notable will even happen on Waterside while meddling midgets like David Harrison and Julian Lewis and the rest are around to pick, prod and interfere.
All Waterside politicians seem capable of doing is talking airily about "plans". When ABP had a viable plan to create or sustain hundreds of jobs literally next door on reclaimed mud at Dibden Bay the very same politicans especially the well known job killers Julian Lewis and David Harrison screamed in terror. But So long as we just talk obliquely about some kind of vague proposal safely over the horizon and with all the usual buzzwords like "science park" or "centre of excellence" plus of the course the ubiquitous "Retail development" they are quite happy to put their names to it and get through the next election on the back of it. Look at what has gone and what has replaced it in the last 25 years. Nothing positive or notable will even happen on Waterside while meddling midgets like David Harrison and Julian Lewis and the rest are around to pick, prod and interfere. Andy Locks Heath
  • Score: -2

1:46pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Forest Resident says...

Thankfully both Harrison and Lewis know to listen and act in line with their constituents wishes, whilst I may not agree with some of their party policies their individual actions locally are highly commendable. In this instance any increased development of MMP requires obvious investment and enhancement of local transport infrastructure, putting hundreds of daily HGV movements through a small village on narrow rural roads is simply unacceptable.
Thankfully both Harrison and Lewis know to listen and act in line with their constituents wishes, whilst I may not agree with some of their party policies their individual actions locally are highly commendable. In this instance any increased development of MMP requires obvious investment and enhancement of local transport infrastructure, putting hundreds of daily HGV movements through a small village on narrow rural roads is simply unacceptable. Forest Resident
  • Score: 17

2:01pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Andy Locks Heath says...

Forest Resident wrote:
Thankfully both Harrison and Lewis know to listen and act in line with their constituents wishes, whilst I may not agree with some of their party policies their individual actions locally are highly commendable. In this instance any increased development of MMP requires obvious investment and enhancement of local transport infrastructure, putting hundreds of daily HGV movements through a small village on narrow rural roads is simply unacceptable.
If that refers to Dibden Bay FR, the ABP plan included a new link road through Pumpfield Farm to a new roundabout on the A326. Where that plan failed was that it was not matched by a commitment from the local authority to extend the A326 Dual Carriageway from Hounsdown to Marchwood. Not a big ask in the scheme of things, but as always the local politicians were only capable of saying No over and over again rather than negotiating to maximise prosperity and minimise inconvenience for residents. Marchwood could have been almost unaffected by port transport but this was still too difficult for David Harrison to handle.
[quote][p][bold]Forest Resident[/bold] wrote: Thankfully both Harrison and Lewis know to listen and act in line with their constituents wishes, whilst I may not agree with some of their party policies their individual actions locally are highly commendable. In this instance any increased development of MMP requires obvious investment and enhancement of local transport infrastructure, putting hundreds of daily HGV movements through a small village on narrow rural roads is simply unacceptable.[/p][/quote]If that refers to Dibden Bay FR, the ABP plan included a new link road through Pumpfield Farm to a new roundabout on the A326. Where that plan failed was that it was not matched by a commitment from the local authority to extend the A326 Dual Carriageway from Hounsdown to Marchwood. Not a big ask in the scheme of things, but as always the local politicians were only capable of saying No over and over again rather than negotiating to maximise prosperity and minimise inconvenience for residents. Marchwood could have been almost unaffected by port transport but this was still too difficult for David Harrison to handle. Andy Locks Heath
  • Score: 3

6:10pm Wed 16 Apr 14

biggus2 says...

A short-sighted decision for commercial gain. The government is going to come unstuck the next time they want to mount and operation such as The Falklands. Gulf War or major exercises. Now where in the UK offers as much resilience as MMP which was purpose built for such events.
A short-sighted decision for commercial gain. The government is going to come unstuck the next time they want to mount and operation such as The Falklands. Gulf War or major exercises. Now where in the UK offers as much resilience as MMP which was purpose built for such events. biggus2
  • Score: 7

9:30pm Wed 16 Apr 14

forest hump says...

Andy Locks Heath wrote:
All Waterside politicians seem capable of doing is talking airily about "plans". When ABP had a viable plan to create or sustain hundreds of jobs literally next door on reclaimed mud at Dibden Bay the very same politicans especially the well known job killers Julian Lewis and David Harrison screamed in terror. But So long as we just talk obliquely about some kind of vague proposal safely over the horizon and with all the usual buzzwords like "science park" or "centre of excellence" plus of the course the ubiquitous "Retail development" they are quite happy to put their names to it and get through the next election on the back of it. Look at what has gone and what has replaced it in the last 25 years. Nothing positive or notable will even happen on Waterside while meddling midgets like David Harrison and Julian Lewis and the rest are around to pick, prod and interfere.
Totally agree with this comment. I also know that ABP have not given up on Dibden Bay development. I hope and pray for common sense to prevail. The infrastructure will be consistent with the proposal and it will bring much needed employment and prosperity to the Waterside Community. With the closure of Fawley Power Station and the Sword of Damocles hanging over the Refinery (which struggles and will continue to struggle to compete with cheaper, imported fuel) we need some fresh investment and business acumen injected in our area.
Cue all short-sighted NIMBYS/GREENIES!
[quote][p][bold]Andy Locks Heath[/bold] wrote: All Waterside politicians seem capable of doing is talking airily about "plans". When ABP had a viable plan to create or sustain hundreds of jobs literally next door on reclaimed mud at Dibden Bay the very same politicans especially the well known job killers Julian Lewis and David Harrison screamed in terror. But So long as we just talk obliquely about some kind of vague proposal safely over the horizon and with all the usual buzzwords like "science park" or "centre of excellence" plus of the course the ubiquitous "Retail development" they are quite happy to put their names to it and get through the next election on the back of it. Look at what has gone and what has replaced it in the last 25 years. Nothing positive or notable will even happen on Waterside while meddling midgets like David Harrison and Julian Lewis and the rest are around to pick, prod and interfere.[/p][/quote]Totally agree with this comment. I also know that ABP have not given up on Dibden Bay development. I hope and pray for common sense to prevail. The infrastructure will be consistent with the proposal and it will bring much needed employment and prosperity to the Waterside Community. With the closure of Fawley Power Station and the Sword of Damocles hanging over the Refinery (which struggles and will continue to struggle to compete with cheaper, imported fuel) we need some fresh investment and business acumen injected in our area. Cue all short-sighted NIMBYS/GREENIES! forest hump
  • Score: -6

10:25pm Thu 17 Apr 14

phil maccavity says...

biggus2 wrote:
A short-sighted decision for commercial gain. The government is going to come unstuck the next time they want to mount and operation such as The Falklands. Gulf War or major exercises. Now where in the UK offers as much resilience as MMP which was purpose built for such events.
Isn't the idea to maintain the military capability at Marchwood but lease the land (for a large chunk of money) to commercial interests whilst maintaining priority for the army?
The focus has been on ABP but apparently there are rival interests, the identity of whom are unknown
Councillor Harrison recently expressed concern that a German company could potentially take over the facility as the opportunity to lease had to be circulated throughout the EC as the European tender process requires
[quote][p][bold]biggus2[/bold] wrote: A short-sighted decision for commercial gain. The government is going to come unstuck the next time they want to mount and operation such as The Falklands. Gulf War or major exercises. Now where in the UK offers as much resilience as MMP which was purpose built for such events.[/p][/quote]Isn't the idea to maintain the military capability at Marchwood but lease the land (for a large chunk of money) to commercial interests whilst maintaining priority for the army? The focus has been on ABP but apparently there are rival interests, the identity of whom are unknown Councillor Harrison recently expressed concern that a German company could potentially take over the facility as the opportunity to lease had to be circulated throughout the EC as the European tender process requires phil maccavity
  • Score: 0

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