Joint Freeport status bid to boost economy and trade opportunities in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

December’s BCP Council Cabinet is being asked to approve £50,000 to progress a joint bid for Freeport status to Government as part of the EU Transition.

Leader of BCP Council, Councillor Drew Mellor, said: “We will be putting proposals to Cabinet this month to earmark funding to progress an application for Freeport status. This is an exciting prospect, working with partners including Dorset LEP, Bournemouth Airport and Aviation Business Park and the Port of Poole. This funding would get the process started and if successful, provide long-term benefits to the area.

“Freeport status in simple terms streamlines the import process, incentivising use of our entry points including airport and port and attract trade to the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole city region. In turn this would create huge opportunities to bring investment and jobs to the area.”

Councillor Mellor added: “This council is absolutely committed to championing our local economy as we both deal with the pandemic and plan for future prosperity. As we go through the EU transition process we must make sure that our area is ready to capitalise on the worldwide trading opportunities that it presents and that is why I want us to be at the front of the queue when Government is looking at their first 10 Freeport status announcements. I made it a priority to start to explore this at pace and have been delighted with the responses from both Bournemouth Airport the Port of Poole and the LEP.

“The council and our partners will work together on a compelling submission which will be facilitated by the £50k of investment we are asking Cabinet to approve. Recently we were delighted that local MP Conor Burns was able to facilitate us to make our case directly to the chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, and I thank Conor for his support of our economy locally.”

Jim Stewart, Chief Executive, of Poole Harbour Commissioners, said: “PHC greatly appreciate BPC Council’s support for this exciting initiative. If approved by Government, Freeport status will provide a significant boost to our local economy.”

A Bournemouth Airport and Aviation Business Park spokesman said: “We are excited to be part of the team led by BCP Council and to have the opportunity to leverage our connectivity and post Brexit cargo and logistics to the benefit of the regional communities we serve.”

Posted on Monday 7 December 2020