Dorset LEP launches Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) programme

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has officially launched the Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) programme, an ambitious major economic growth plan focused on employment and development around Bournemouth Airport.

Almost £40 million secured by Dorset LEP (as part of the Dorset Growth Deal*1) is funding a series of transport and infrastructure investments.  Over the next four years the projects and schemes will:

  • Transform accessibility to and around Bournemouth Airport through extensive transport improvements;
  • Release up to 60 hectares of prime, flexible employment land for high-quality new business premises at Aviation Business Park;
  • Provide the single largest employment opportunity in the South East Dorset conurbation with the potential to create up to 10,000 new highly skilled jobs over the next decade;
  • Generate up to £500 million of GVA into the area;
  • Deliver around 350 new homes of which up to 50 per cent are affordable;
  • Deliver increased broadband capacity to Bournemouth Airport and Aviation Business Park;
  • Develop a new approach to improve skills and employee development, better tailoring it to the needs of key business sectors (aerospace, aviation, advanced manufacturing, digital media, marine, defence and financial services).

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership is overseeing the BIG programme in collaboration with Aviation Business Park, Bournemouth Borough Council, Bournemouth University, Christchurch and East Dorset Councils, Dorset County Council and Manchester Airports Group.

“Bournemouth International Growth programme is undoubtedly Dorset’s most important and bold economic development project this decade,” said Gordon Page, Dorset LEP chairman.

“Dorset is sitting on a major growth opportunity around Bournemouth Airport.   This £40 million transport and infrastructure investment will unlock suppressed growth and secure the area’s long term economic prosperity.  More high-skilled jobs will be created meaning a brighter, better future for local businesses and people.”

A recent survey*2 revealed that over eight out of ten residents agree that Bournemouth Airport is a suitable place for economic development; 91% agreed that if it were to be developed, access to and around the airport needs to be improved.

The BIG programme is already tackling the issue of congested and inadequate road networks around the airport.  Last year it kick-started a programme of road improvements, the first being the major renewal of the A338 Bournemouth Spur Road, the key link road to Bournemouth Airport*3.  A series of works will follow all aimed at facilitating better access to the airport area from the A338 and from the west and unlocking employment land around Wessex Fields4.

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Notes to editors:

*1 £39,500,000 has been allocated to fund the BIG programme.  This is part of the £79 million funding secured by Dorset LEP through the Government’s ‘Local Growth Deals’.   Round 1 of the deal saw Dorset LEP awarded £66.4m (July 2014); this was bolstered by an additional £12.6 million awarded in January 2015.

*2 Dorset LEP commissioned an economic growth survey (20 November – 18 December 2015) to establish a key baseline of opinion around the outcomes of the BIG programme and to gauge public opinion regarding economic growth in the local area.

*3 The major renewal of the A338 includes:

  • Completely rebuilding the dual carriageway (from foundation to surface) between Ashley Heath and Blackwater, including a new lower noise surface layer;
  • Adding a 1m hard strip to give extra space for cars to move over for emergency vehicles or in case of breakdowns;
  • Works are progressing well.  Phase 1 (rebuilding the southbound carriageway) finished on schedule on 12 December 2015.  The renewal of the A338 is being delivered by Dorset County Council and has a target completion date of 9 June 2016.


*4 Research and consultation is currently examining a number of potential road infrastructure solutions along the B3073 corridor and A338.