A NEW high-tech business hub in Hampshire could create 6,000 jobs.

The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership has put in a bid to Government to create a new enterprise zone close to Southampton Airport, which would promote the area for business and investment.

Mims Davies, MP for Eastleigh, who is backing the bid, has written to Chancellor George Osborne urging him to provide cash to get the scheme up and running.

Those at the heart of the bid say the so-called Southampton Gateway Enterprise Zone would support the long-term creation of 550 new businesses, provide 230,000 square metres of new floorspace and 6,000 jobs by 2028.

The Solent LEP, a partnership between businesses, local authorities and higher education, has applied alongside other LEPs from all over the country to Government which will then decide which should get enterprise zone status.

There are 39 LEPs in England and currently 24 enterprise zones, including the Solent Local Enterprise Zone at the former Daedalus Airfield near Lee-on-Solent - created as a result of a similar bidding process back in 2012 - and Southampton Gateway would operate in a similar way.

Enterprise zones receive benefits such as business rate discounts, tax relief, access to super fast broadband, streamlined planning permission and the LEPs keeping business rate growth to help fund development in the zone, however they do not get any Government funding.

The idea is to attract businesses to the area and encourage private sector growth and investment.

Areas in the proposed zone are unused land adjacent to Southampton Airport in Eastleigh towards the former railway works and the former Ford factory site, in Swaythling, totalling 65 hectares.

It is now more than two years since the Ford plant, which at its height employed more than 4,000 people, closed its doors for the last time and as previously reported demolition work at the site has been ongoing for weeks.

Eastleigh Borough and Southampton City councils both support the bid.

To open up the land near the airport it needs a new access road and outside funding would be required.

Mrs Davies said the strength of the site was its transport links with two close by railway stations, an airport and the M27 motorway and close proximity to Southampton and Portsmouth.

If the enterprise zone bid is successful she would expect an increase in infrastructure funding and hopes that this will strengthen the case for the Chickenhall Lane link road, helping relieve traffic in and around Eastleigh.

“The Solent LEP has my full support with what is a robust application and I will continue to press their case ceaselessly in the corridors of power,” said Mrs Davies.

Gary Jeffries, Solent LEP Chairman, said: "The creation of a Southampton Airport Gateway Enterprise Zone is a critical component of our economic strategy and the area covered has the potential to be a major economic catalyst which brings the Solent and our key international gateway at Southampton Airport together with our rail connectivity to the rest of the UK and strategic road network interchanges at the M27 and M3."

A decision on which applications will be successful is due by the end of the year.