ABP breaks ground on ?25m Solent Freeport development

Associated British Ports (ABP)[1] has commenced work on the first phase of its Solent Gateway development at the Port of Marchwood. Sir Julian Lewis, MP for New Forest East, officially launched construction on the 21-acre site. He was accompanied by representatives from Hampshire County Council - including leader Cllr Rob Humby - as well as New Forest District Council, Solent Freeport[2] and UK government departments.

The development, backed by GBP25 million of investment for this first phase, will improve landside and marine facilities to strengthen the Solent's position as a leading gateway for trade, as well as boost the capacity of the port to support MOD operations. Read the March 2024 issue of The Business Magazine, including our feature on skills[3] Plans include an ecological buffer on the port boundary to improve the visual impact for local residential areas and to encourage wildlife to the site, as well as 60 acres of biodiverse habitats off-site.

There'll also be pedestrian and cycle access routes between the port and Marchwood village. A new site entrance within the port boundary along with improved vehicle management will help curb congestion outside the port. Richard Parkinson, director of Marchwood Port, said: "This multimillion-pound investment is absolutely key to realising the potential of the Port of Marchwood both as a thriving port and to support our armed forces.

"It adds much-needed additional port capacity to the Solent region. "The development has gone through a rigorous Planning Approval process and is designed with significant features to benefit the local community and the environment." Alastair Welch, regional director at ABP, added: "The Solent is a leading gateway for the UK to connect with the world and the UK's number one port for deep sea trade.

"Developing this connectivity is key for the success of the UK economy as a whole - specifically the 115,000 jobs and GBP8 billion of value which ABP's regional activities, including ABP Solent Gateway, supports." Marchwood is one of the first sites to be developed within the Solent Freeport, a government initiative to encourage investment in the area and generate new sustainable businesses to increase regional prosperity. It offers business tax and customs relief for funds to be put back into the Solent area for regeneration and to improve skills and employment opportunities.

More sites are planned in Southampton and Portsmouth.

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  1. ^ Associated British Ports (ABP) (www.abports.co.uk)
  2. ^ Solent Freeport (solentfreeport.com)
  3. ^ Read the March 2024 issue of The Business Magazine, including our feature on skills (thebusinessmagazine.co.uk)