The Solent Forum

Working in partnership for the future

New Developments

The coastline of the Solent is constantly evolving as sites are developed, redeveloped or undergo change of use to respond to the current economic, social and political climate.  This page summarises current developments that are taking place or are in progress.

The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) covers three unitary authorities and eight district councils, all situated in the south of Hampshire. It is an internationally recognised economic hub centred on the the two cities of Portsmouth and Southampton and the Isle of Wight, the M27 corridor and the Solent waterway, which has been identified as one of the busiest stretches of water in the UK both commercially and for inshore recreation.

Solent Gateways

The Solent Gateways programme is a £500 million plus comprehensive programme of transport and enabling infrastructure projects aimed at tackling regeneration along Southampton’s waterfront and in East Cowes and improving connectivity across the Solent. It represents a sustained and comprehensive effort to bring back into productive use underperforming assets and to improve economic growth.

Two Cities Deal

Portsmouth and Southampton have made a historic ‘deal of two cities’ that will bring thousands of jobs to their area and pump millions of pounds into the local economy. The cities’ joint City Deal with the government, gives them special powers and access to new funds. This means they can develop crucial sites, provide training and boost local companies.  City Deals have been signed by many cities around the country, but Portsmouth and Southampton are the only ones to have made a joint deal. The deal is set to bring millions in public and private sector investment into the Solent area, creating more than 17,000 jobs. It is primarily aimed at the area’s maritime, marine and advanced manufacturing sectors.

It will also: 

Part of the deal is that two major development sites will be ‘unlocked’ at Tipner/Horsea Island in Portsmouth, and Watermark West Quay in Southampton.

Making land at Tipner and Horsea Island in Portsmouth available for development will eventually provide 2,370 new homes and more than 3,700 permanent jobs. Portsmouth City Council has already invested £24m in infrastructure in the Tipner/Horsea Island area to support current and future development. This includes the building of a new motorway junction, which provides access between the motorway and Tipner East, Tipner West and a Ministry of Defence firing range. This work will be completed in March 2014. Housebuilding will also begin at Tipner East in 2014/15. Parts of the Tipner/Horsea Island area currently cannot be developed because of obstacles such as multiple land ownership, land that needs cleaning up, or a lack of infrastructure. The City Deal will transfer land from the Ministry of Defence to Portsmouth City Council and enable roads and other infrastructure to be built. 

A critical industry for Southampton’s maritime sector is the growing international cruise industry, with more than 400 ships expected to dock in Southampton in 2013.  This will provide approximately £1bn to the local economy; a 200% increase in passenger numbers in the last 10 years, with further growth expected.  This provides a significant opportunity to improve the attractiveness of the city to visitors, which can be found in the stalled 49,000 square metre Watermark West Quay development. This £97m mixed-use scheme will be delivered in two phases. The first phase comprises a landmark cinema building, up to 15 restaurants, additional retail space and newly-created public space in front of the city’s historic walls – creating 500 new permanent jobs. The second phase has the potential to include a residential tower, a hotel, flexible office space, restaurants and additional public space.

Portsmouth Port Master Plan

The City of Portsmouth is in the process of transformation. This time of reshaping Portsmouth for a future of greater economic growth and prosperity comes as the Port itself is going through a transformation with infrastructure improvements including a new terminal, improved access by road and water, and new technology to speed cargo discharge, processing and delivery. These investments also represent a greater emphasis on co-operation with the continent, with Port aspirations meeting EC objectives resulting in the Port cooperating in several EU programmes under the European Regional Development Fund. Investing in infrastructure might be the most obvious means of remaining successful, but taking advantage of opportunities as and when they appear can also provide prosperity for the Port. This is particularly the case with respect to land use when the strategic defence review may allow land and berths to become available in Portsmouth Naval Base. With the Economic Impact Study and the Traffic Forecast both indicating that the passenger cruise industry represents one of the best potential areas of growth for Portsmouth, the contraction of naval assets in Portsmouth represents a potential opportunity.

A Master Plan for the Port of Portsmouth for the next 15 years has been published and is open to public consultation. This important new document outlines key strategies for growth at the Port. Six strategies are outlined to keep the Port a profitable going concern in the 15 years to 2026: major infrastructure investments; corporate social responsibility; land use; business planning; carbon reduction and improved energy management; and future infrastructure. The Master Plan was unveiled at an international summit on the port industry held in Portsmouth on 20 October 2011 as part of the EU’s Ports Adapting to Change (PATCH) project. 

Southampton Approach Channel Dredge and Shipping Channel

The Southampton Approach Channel Dredge (SACD) involves selective deepening and widening of the navigation channel at various locations within Southampton Water and the Solent.  ABP has now completed an initial phase of deepening the existing channel to increase the tidal window for deeper draughted vessels.

Navitus Bay Wind Farm

As part of The Crown Estate’s third round of leasing for offshore wind farms, Zone 7 or ‘West of Wight’ was awarded to Eneco in January 2010. On 8 May 2014 the Planning Inspectorate accepted for examination Navitus Bay Development Limited's development consent application for the Navitus Bay Wind Park. The Examination Authority completed its examination of this application at 12 midnight on 11 March 2015. The panel will now report to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on or before 11 June 2015, who is expected to make a decision on or before 11 September 2015.  Navitus Bay Development Limited (Navitus Bay) is a 50-50 joint venture between Eneco Wind UK Ltd (Eneco) and EDF Energy.

Southampton's Aeronautica Museum

The Aeronautica attraction, based at the docks, would house historic aircraft and ships linked to the city.  It would include a full-size replica of the stern of SS Olympic, the sister ship of Titanic which sailed from Southampton on its fateful voyage.  Docks owner, Associated British Ports, is in discussions with Southampton City Council over the site which could open by 2015.  It is hoped successful applications for arts and heritage grants would cover most of the costs.  The plan would also see visitors taken to and from the site on one of the two restored trams that used to run through the city.  The museum, which is set to replace the Solent Sky attraction, would also include some of the ships which took part in the WWII Dunkirk evacuation.

Gosport Waterfront

Plans are in the pipeline to redevelop the waterfront area in Gosport.  Hampshire County Council has given a £20,000 grant to fund a major public consultation in the next few months, giving residents the chance to say how they want the waterfront to look. The waterfront area includes a long section of the coastline including the Royal Clarence Yard retained area, the Coldharbour area, Falkland Gardens and the Bus Station.

The central part of the Coldharbour site and the bus station site will provide the key focus for future regeneration.  The bus station site consists of 1.65 acres adjacent to the ferry terminus and town centre, with panoramic views across Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent, and expectations are for a landmark development based on high quality design and visual appeal. Redevelopment will be a mix of uses such as retail, business, and leisure activities.

The Coldharbour site consists of approximately three hectares, adjacent to Portsmouth Harbour and Gosport Town Centre. Allocated for mixed use development in the Gosport Borough Local Plan Review, the site has a long history of marine-related activity and employment by virtue of its access to deepwater and proximity to the mouth of the Harbour and the Solent. There is potential to retain and expand marine-related employment on this site, as well as develop additional leisure and retail provision to complement the town centre and surrounding area.  There will also be the possibility of future land releases by the Ministry of Defence in the area currently known as the Royal Clarence Yard retained area which is considered suitable for marine employment.  Gosport Borough Council will shortly be preparing a master-plan for the Waterfront.

Cowes Outer Harbour Project

Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) has appointed Boskalis Westminster to undertake construction of the new £7 million detached breakwater for Cowes on the Isle of Wight.  

This initial construction phase happened through the summer of 2014 and this was followed by a consolidation period to allow for settlement of the breakwater structure during the autumn through to spring 2015. The contractor returned to Cowes to re-dress the core structure and complete the construction of the breakwater during the summer of 2015.  The construction of the 350 metre long breakwater is the first phase of transforming Cowes into a "true sheltered harbour" and creates a variety of exciting development and business opportunities for East Cowes, Cowes and other Island stakeholders. The project is a joint initiative between CHC and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) with both parties funding the work, with co-operation from the Crown Estate.  Cowes Harbour Commission will issue regular navigational information and news updates for stakeholders and harbour users during the construction process. 

Solent Enterprise Zone Daedalus (Gosport)

The Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus in South Hampshire is one of 24 Enterprise Zones designated by the Government intended to spearhead the creation of new jobs and the expansion of businesses. The Solent Enterprise Zone is led by a partnership comprised of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, the Homes and Communities Agency which owns most of the site, Hampshire County Council which supports transport improvements serving the Enterprise Zone and construction projects, and Fareham and Gosport Borough Councils who facilitate land use planning at Daedalus.

The Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus focuses on advanced manufacturing within the marine, aerospace and aviation sectors.

Portsmouth Naval Base

The new aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales are based in Portsmouth and at 280 metres in length, take up three jetties when alongside in the Naval Base.  Delivery is due to occur in 2017.  The ships are the biggest and most powerful warships ever designed and built in the UK. They will be 70 metres wide and the flight deck area is equivalent to 49 tennis courts or three football pitches – large enough to take up to 40 aircraft.  Preliminary work is already underway in the Naval Base to accommodate the vessels. Assessments to define the exact work required have been completed and an impact study is underway to identify any measures required to safeguard the environment.  Three jetties on the western edge of the Base will have to be upgraded and extra shore services will be needed, including an increase in electrical supply.    

The existing channel used by ships needs to be widened and deepened to accommodate the new carriers. The berths in the base itself need to be excavated and a suitable turning circle provided in the north of the harbour – the draught of the sisters will be 11 metres (36ft). The approach channels to the Base will have to be dredged to a depth of 10.5 metres – current depth is 9.5 metres - to cope with the ships which will have a full displacement of 65,000 tonnes. 

In addition a detailed environmental analysis of the harbour and its approaches was carried out in 2004, while the bridge simulator at HMS Collingwood has been adapted to test the new route to prove the carriers can enter or leave harbour in a range of tidal and weather conditions; so far more than 180 simulated arrivals and departures have been conducted.

Royal Pier Redevelopment, Southampton

The masterplan proposes both the reclamation of 14.2 acres (5.68 hectares) of land from Southampton Water and the creation of a new sheltered inlet that will become a focus for the new waterfront development. The inlet will provide berthing for tall ships and large yachts accessed off floating pontoons. A lifting pedestrian bridge will provide the link between the Royal Pier site and Town Quay.

The reclamation is proposed on the site of the dilapidated Royal Pier with new buildings proposed where the pier once stood. To the west the reclaimed land forms an extension of Mayflower Park. Town Quay forms the eastern side of the inlet and it is anticipated that development at the Royal Pier site will be followed by renewed investment interest in Town Quay.

The masterplan also proposes the relocation of all Red Funnel operations to Berth 50 to the east of Town Quay marina. This will allow Red Funnel to operate both the Red Jet Hi-Speed and Ro-Ro car ferry service from a single terminal building. The Ro-Ro car ferries will berth in the historic Trafalgar Dock and will benefit from longer more efficient marshalling lanes and a new access at Dock Gate 5.

Wightlink Ferries

Wightlink Ferries is investing £45million investment in its key Fishbourne-Portsmouth Gunwharf route. The new flagship designed and built specifically for the route, with the capacity to carry the equivalent of 178 cars and more than 1,000 people on each crossing, is planned to come into service in 2017.

There will also be improvements to terminals at the company’s ports at Fishbourne and Portsmouth Gunwharf. They will mean better facilities for customers, and faster loading and unloading times which will reduce congestion particularly at Portsmouth Gunwharf. New boarding ramps will allow vehicles to be loaded and unloaded on two levels simultaneously and more quietly than at present. As part of this investment, the capacity of Wightlink’s current flagship St Clare will be increased so it can use the same ‘double deck’ loading system.