THE developer building 200 homes at a former Royal Navy air station says it has invested more than £12.9million in the local economy.

Wates Residential, which was picked by the government to develop Daedalus Village at Lee-on-Solent, is building 120 private homes and 80 affordable homes at the former seaplane base.

It says it has donated £68,000 to local causes as well as spending £12.9m with businesses in the Gosport area.

Work started last November after government agency Homes England picked Wates Residential as its delivery partner. The deal was part of a plan to fast-track building on publicly owned land, with homes being built at double the pace of the industry standard.

Wates Residential pledged to leave a legacy for the community by using local firms in the supply chain, creating training and employment, and investing in local charities and community groups.

In a report summarising the impact of the Daedalus Village development locally over the past 12 months, it says it has:

n donated more than £68,000 to local causes including Lee Rangers Football Club, Age Concern Gosport and Gosport Voluntary Action

n recruited a workforce made up of 35 per cent local people

n invested 2,634 hours supporting people through training and employment initiatives

n invested the equivalent of £207,000 in training.

The company has brought to Gosport its Building Futures programme, which gives experience and employability coaching to unemployed adults.

Two courses have been delivered in Gosport, with 14 students graduating in June this year after learning carpentry, maintenance, planning and health and safety at the Silver Trowel Centre in Lee-on-Solent.

The students also took part in mock interviews with local employment agencies and eight were offered jobs.

Wates Giving, the charitable arm of the Wates Family Enterprise Trust, gave grants for two community projects. One was Age Concern Gosport, which was given £13,500 towards its information service staffed by local volunteers, enabling it to engage with 300 people so far in 2019. Another £4,828 went to Gosport Voluntary Action to enable it to continue running its supported volunteering project for isolated people.

Paul Nicholls, managing director at Wates Residential, said: “Wates Residential builds homes, but our work is about so much more than that. We believe that everyone deserves a great place to live and are committed to leaving a positive legacy for the local communities where we work by hiring local staff, volunteering and donating to good causes.

“It has been fantastic to work at the historic Daedalus site and we are pleased to have been able to support the local community through our presence. We look forward to continuing to make a positive impact as we move towards completion of 200 new homes on the site over the next 12 months.”

Angela Gill, from Age Concern Gosport, said: “Age Concern Gosport is really grateful that Wates Giving is enabling us to reach out to local organisations and residents alike that we otherwise would be unable to. Last year Age Concern Gosport provided over 300 local older people with support and information – with 1,000 volunteer hours delivered by our small team of dedicated volunteers.

“Our free form-filling support service also enabled an amazing £340,000 of benefits per annum to be secured for Gosport’s older people. This will enable us to make even more of a difference to Gosport’s older people over the coming year and for that we are truly grateful.”