As one of the most important development sites on the Solent, Marchwood Port has great potential to become an economic asset for the local community that surrounds the site.
As Solent Gateway we appreciate that any change brings with it an element of uncertainty and we would like to reassure you as neighbours about our commitment to listening and engaging with you.
We are currently finalising some administrative details and will be taking over from the Ministry of Defence soon.
As this is a 35 year concession, we do not intend to change everything overnight. Our primary focus over the following year will be running port operations in support of the UK’s strategic MoD’s needs and we are currently in the process of recruiting around 50 Sponsored Reserves and key staff to enable us to do this. Whilst at Marchwood, the reserves will operate as civilian port employees but will have a dual role as active reservists and will deploy with 165 Port and Maritime Regiment, Royal Logistics Corp as required.
Our commitment to our core client, the MoD, will always be central to Solent Gateway’s operations at Marchwood, but it is the wider longer term plans for the site that I’m sure will be of most interest to local people.
David MacBrayne has been operating ferry and port facilities across the Clyde and Hebrides for the past 160 years and currently manages operations at at round 50 locations across the west coast of Scotland.
GBA is a leading provider of end-to-end logistical services to the shipping, automotive and renewables sector with operations at numerous ports and terminals in the UK and at automotive manufacturing plants.
Together we have the skills and experience needed to deliver both a cost effective port support service and to develop sustainable economic opportunities on the site for the long term.
Over the next 12 months we will be focusing on building a solid working relationship with the MoD but we will also be using this time to look at ways of maximising the economic value of Marchwood for the local community.
Any development will be consistent with what is identified as desirable within the New Forest District Council Local Plan and will be widely consulted upon through the normal planning procedures.
Core considerations will be:
- Building employment opportunities
- Development within the context of the local authority’s Local Plan reflecting what has already been agreed as appropriate for this site.
- Commitment to maximise use of rail capacity into the site
- Awareness of the constraints of the local road network and the impact of potential increased traffic volume on the local community.
The development of commercial opportunities at Marchwood is a longterm project and we will, of course take into consideration the needs of the local community.
We want to work together with you to maximise economic opportunity while minimising environmental impact.
We look forward to becoming a valued community partner at Marchwood for many years to come.
Eric W Smith
Interim Port Director
Solent Gateway Ltd
This first appeared in the December 2016 edition of Marchwood Parish Council Newsletter