TENS of thousands of pounds of investment could be brought to the south coast as part of a new business-led deal.

Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Dorset LEP say they are to collaborate more closely.

The two bodies are looking to create a new joint industrial strategy.

In a joint statement, the organisations said: ""Both LEP Boards have expressed a desire to explore, in partnership with Government, the potential development of a Local Industrial Strategy.

"The direction of travel suggests that Local Industrial Strategies will be completed at the individual LEP level or at Mayoral Combined Authority level (MCA), where they are in existence, but we now await further formal guidance from government.

"Both LEPs recognise that there is a range of areas where collaboration should be explored, particularly given common strengths in, for example, the visitor and maritime sectors.

"Discussions are at an early stage and both boards are looking forward continuing the dialogue with a view to exploring new growth opportunities for both areas."

The proposed strategy will build on local strengths and deliver on economic opportunities with a particular focus on the visitor and maritime sectors and the development of economic infrastructure (digital and transport) which will connect people to places as well as supporting new housing delivery.

In Dorset, particular address will be given to transport links which are cited as Dorset’s number one impediment to business growth followed by recruitment, housing and broadband access.

Meanwhile, in the Solent region, particular address will be given to support the growth to help expand Portsmouth and Southampton, building on the key assets concentrated in these cities, including the universities and ports.

Particular address will also be given to coastal communities of the Isle of Wight and Gosport so that the positive impact created is felt within these communities.

Gary Jeffries, chairman of the Solent LEP, added: "The LEPs Strategic Economic Plan for the Solent area has played an integral role in our work to secure over £180m investment in our economy through the Solent Growth Deal to date and we are committed to building on this success by developing an Industrial Strategy which response to today's announcement, builds on our existing world-leading capability in areas such as Marine and Maritime and supports development of those areas where we have the potential to be a global force in the future."

Ian Girling, chief executive of the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, added: “It is essential there is a clear focus on partnership between the public and private sectors in terms of economic development and we look forward to working with the Dorset LEP in taking this plan forward.”

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council and a Solent LEP director, said: "There is a lot of things that we share in common with South Hampshire and the Bournemouth and Poole area.

"It makes a deal of sense to be working together on a joint industrial strategy as the issues that we are trying to tackle don't end at Ringwood."

Nationally, the government's industrial strategy, launched last November focuses on increasing spending on the infrastructure of the future, delivering clean energy and spreading 5G digital connectivity right across the country and creating more electric vehicle charging points.