Agenda and minutes

Solent Growth Forum - Tuesday, 9th June, 2015 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Fareham Borough Council

Contact: Stuart Baker on 02392 68 8676  Email:

No. Item


Election of Chairman

(5 Minutes)


At the commencement of the meeting Robert Parkin as the Monitoring Officer for Portsmouth City Council (who provide the Accountable Body for the Solent LEP) asked for nominations for a Chair and Councillor Michael Cheshire was duly proposed by Councillor Woodward and seconded by Councillor Jones and elected by the forum.  At this point in the meeting Councillor Cheshire took the Chair and was pleased to be the first Chair of the Solent Growth Forum.


Introductions, Apologies For Absence and Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 222 KB

The terms of reference are attached for information (5 Minutes)


Introductions around the table were made and apologies for absence had been forwarded from Councillors Keith House and Keith Mans (Cllrs David Airey and Patricia Stallard deputised respectively).  There had been further apologies from Councillor Jonathan Bacon (Leader of the Isle of Wight Council), Fiona Willmott (Skills Funding Agency), John Bull (Trade Union Representative), Di Roberts (FE Sector representative) and Kevin Bourner (Homes and Community Agency).


Terms of Reference


The draft terms of reference dated March 2015 had been appended to the agenda and previously circulated to all members and these were agreed by the forum.



Declaration of Interests


There were no declarations of  members' interests at this meeting.


Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Executive Update pdf icon PDF 211 KB

(10 Minutes)


The purpose of the attached report by Stuart Baker, Head of Local Growth, Sollent LEP is to update the Solent Growth Forum on progress being made on the delivery of the Solent Growth Deal, work being undertaken in relation to European Union Structural Investment Funding identified for the Solent area, and work being undertaken to refresh the Solent Strategic Economic Plan, for which advice of the Forum is sought.


Recommended that the Forum:

(1)  Notes the Solent Growth Deal Update;

(2)  Notes the Expanded Solent Growth Deal Update;

(3)  Notes the European Structural Investment fund (ESIF) Update;

(4)  Notes the Solent Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) Update;

(5)  Consider the Solent Strategic Economic Plan presentations at the Forum meeting ; and

(6)  Provide advice and /or recommendations to inform the review of the Solent Strategic Economic Plan



Stuart Baker, Solent LEP, presented his report as circulated with the agenda papers, which set out the background to the Solent Growth Deal with an initial allocation of £40,391,667 made to Portsmouth City Council as the accountable body for the Solent LEP on 10 April 2015.


Table 1 within the report showed that a further £90.9M of Local Growth Deal funding was allocated for the next five years but which needed to be confirmed by Government as part of forthcoming spending review.


Table 2 set out the current funding agreement status projects within the Solent Growth Deal Programme.  It was noted that six projects are at their final contract stage.  There is a balance of 2015/16 funding allocation of £5.4M, which is expected to be reallocated to existing projects to accelerate delivery.  It was noted that it will be imperative that the LEP demonstrate spend against this allocation, to position itself to receive further funding in future years.


Stuart Baker outlined the expanded Solent Growth Deal which had been announced in January 2015.  The report outlined the three projects within the £27.1M investment with the residual funding being made available for a £4.5M Skills and Innovation Programme to improve skills and promote innovation in the Solent area.

An additional document was circulated regarding the process the LEP is proposing to follow to develop a pipeline of projects to provide a state of readiness for future funding rounds.  The Forum was asked their view on

whether the LEP should take a proactive approach to calling for Expressions of Interest, and this was agreed.


RESOLVED that the Solent Growth Forum -


1)         noted Solent Growth deal update

2)         noted the expanded Solent Growth Deal Update

3)         noted the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) update

4)         noted the Solent Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) update


Progress update on the Solent Strategic Economic Plan pdf icon PDF 13 MB

·       An update on economic performance - Oxford Economics (10 minutes)

·       The Solent Strategic Economic Plan one year on - Solent LEP (10 minutes)


General discussion on the performance of the Solent economy and identification of priorities for investment going forward (15 minutes)


Additional documents:


Anne-Marie Mountifield, Chief Executive of Solent LEP gave a presentation to the forum (the slides will be attached to the minutes) setting out how the Solent Strategic Economic Plan is being refreshed and setting out where there had been interesting shifts in the economy and she invited views of the members as to where the priorities and focus should be to reflect the changes in the economy.


I was noted that the Gross Value Added (GVA) £25 billion for the area was a sixth of that for the south east economy.  The presentation covered how the two cities were anchor points within the Solent area; the proximity of key businesses and the defence hub to the cities.  In relation to unlocking further growth there would be a focus on unlocking flexible employment space and to  work with PUSH (as part of their spatial strategy refresh to look at the availability of waterfront sites and B8 high office space) and transport links within the area. 


The strengths within the area included the high technology clusters, the SME base and the strong higher and further education presence within the area as well as natural assets of green infrastructure and a good quality of life were emphasised as were challenges around the skills base which included replacing expertise in the technical skills of the labour market.


The slides set out the targets for growth in new jobs and new homes. 


Reference was made to partnership working across the Solent and also to emerging areas where there would need to be more focus including; Broadband and transport connectivity, innovation and skills (particularly at the higher levels, linked to productivity).  It was also clear that whilst employment and job creation had increased, productivity had not, and the productivity gap between the Solent and the wider south east is expected to grow.  By focussing investment in skills and infrastructure there may be an opportunity to improve productivity and reduce the need for in-migration to satisfy labour demands. In conclusion Anne-Marie posed questions to the forum regarding: 

  • Continue to enhance transport connectivity across the area
  • Growing the skills base and supporting business growth; employment growth, productivity improvements or both?
  • Continue to enable flagship sites for housing and employment



Anthony Light from Oxford Economics (OE) gave the second presentation (this statistical information would be made available with the minutes).  His presentation highlighted the key trends and in particular the GVA.  The economy in the Solent was bigger than had been predicted mainly due to factors that were now being included within national statistics as well as growth.  GVA was currently at approximately 2.8%, in line with the national average.  Jobs growth was faster than anticipated (678,000 jobs in the area).  There was evidence that the increases in employment rates were benefitting local residents. 


Lower growth was evident when looking at productivity trends, and the Solent area was 12% below the south east average and 5% below the national average. Based on the update OE believe that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Any Urgent Business, including next meeting

(5 Minutes)


Stuart Baker advised the forum members of the Solent Employer Ownership of Skills Programme, which is open for businesses to bid for money to develop proposals to create jobs, raise skills and drive enterprise and economic growth in the Solent In line with the published guidance the LEP is seeking an offer of support from a local authority or ex officio member from the SGF to support the work of the investment panel.


Post meeting note: the Investment Panel is expected to meet on 23rd July (1000 - 1130) at Fareham College to review an application.  Further information on the programme is available here:  Please will anyone able to offer support to the Panel contact


Next Meeting


It was agreed that the Forum meetings should be held approximately three times a year with the next meeting being held in September in line with the LEP meeting.