Prime Minister Announces Enterprise Zone Status for Daedalus Airfield

Enterprise Zone status, which provides business rate reductions and the retention of business rate growth for investment in infrastructure to spur investment and generate growth announced 17th August.


This news is the result of the work of many local leaders and organisations, public and private, combining to good effect since mid-year 2010. The newly created private-public Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) proposed Daedalus airfield for Enterprise Zone status to central government earlier this year. Caroline Dinenage MP for Gosport, Lee-On-Solent, Stubbington and Hill Head has lobbied central government for Enterprise Status and worked closely with the LEP itself, as has elected LEP Board Member and Fareham Borough Council Executive Leader Cllr Seán Woodward, who was prime mover in the creation of the LEP itself.

Lee Flying Association played its part in the summer of 2010 supporting the proposal to create Solent LEP by generating much needed Letters of Support from the aviation sector, locally and beyond. Solent LEP's public launch event took place at Southampton Port's City Cruise Terminal on 26th July 2011, at which aviation organisations operating at Daedalus were represented by Atlas Helicopters, Phoenix Aviation and of course Lee Flying Association itself.

The achievement of Enterprise Status is a major step forward for the civil airfield at Daedalus, which combined with the recently adopted Fareham Borough Council Core Strategy (which retains Daedalus as a working operational airfield supporting Aerospace and Marine business parks) finally removes the uncertaintly which has blighted the local area locally since the Royal Navy itself vacated the airfield in 1996. The airfield became a civil ian one and has remained operational throughout, continuing with it's long-standing General Aviation operations. These include Search and Rescue Helicopters, Police Air Support (now performed by neighbouring county helicopters which visit), gliding, microlight, and aircraft flying private, business, and occasionally, government flights.

Entreprise Zone status is also another step which will enable the relevant authorities to offer the fundamental requirement of security of tenure to the businesses that wish to grow existing, or locate new, aviation premises at the airfield. The General Aviation (non-airline) sector in the UK is worth around £3.6 Billion and it hoped South Hampshire shall at long last be able to participate directly in that sector at iits last remaining significant airfield to the benefit of all.

Daedalus Airfield spans two separate Council Boroughs,  Fareham and Gosport, with the majority of the airfield - and effectively all the opeational airfield land within the Fareham borough.The Fareham Borough Council Core Strategy (Planning Framework for the next 30 or so years) was recently accepted by the appointed central government Planning Inspector, and was formally adopted by the Councillors last week.  The FBC Core Strategy is "Major areas for future development include Daedalus, as a working airfield with an Aerospace and Marine business park providing high quality productive jobs".  That is the public content of the now adopted Strategic planning framework. In addition LFA has written confirmation of the airfield remaining operational is safeguarded by the Core Strategy from FBC Chief Executive, Head of Planning, and also via Gosport Borough Council councillors working closely with their Fareham colleagues.

The southern part of the airfield, which contains the major hangar structures such as Dunning Hangar - where Britten-Norman currently manufacture their BN Defender product - is within the borough of Gosport. Both councils support the retention of the operational airfield and the development of the aviation, engineering and marine industries (the airfield has, uniquely in the UK a slipway access to the sea).

As at 17th August 2011 Aviation businesses with a potential interest in investing at Daedalus Airfield may make their initial enquiries to :

Anne-Marie Mountifield
Executive Director
Portsmouth City Council
Floor 2, Core 3
Civic Offices
Guildhall Square

    anne-marie (dot) mountifield (at)

Media Coverage links:

Business Matters

Portsmouth News Coverage