Below is from my weekly column which is written for the Portsmouth News and was first published on Friday 24 November
Last week I was delighted to open FatFace’s brand new £5million distribution centre at Dunsbury Park near Leigh Park, a real vote of confidence in our area.
As an iconic British brand, I’m delighted FatFace are committing to Havant for the long-term - the first of many businesses to move here I hope.
The speed of development at Dunsbury Park has been a credit to everyone involved. I have also been pleased to play my own part in helping to unlock some of the problems that have arisen, making sure that construction has stayed on track to allow the centre to open for the all-important Christmas trading.
Managing Director Anthony Thompson on Friday made clear his commitment to Havant, in particular praising the hard work and dedication of his team. He highlighted that while other parts of the country might be more geographically suited for a distribution centre, the quality of the workforce here in Havant cannot be matched.
With FatFace’s investment, the site is set to create an extra 100 jobs over the next ten years, further strengthening our area’s strong levels of employment.
At my Jobs, Apprenticeships and Careers Fair earlier this year, we had in total more than 60 exhibitors from a range of sectors, offered a combined 900 jobs and apprenticeships.
Figures released last week showed that unemployment in Havant is lower than the national average and those claiming out of work benefits has fallen by half since 2010. A trend very much in line with the national picture, where a near-record number of people are now in work.
With a staggering 585,000 sq ft of space across the Dunsbury Park – I have no doubt that other businesses will soon be following FatFace and investing into the site.
This will multiply investment across our local economy, as well as creating more jobs. It’s an exciting prospect and I cannot wait to see the park grow in the future.
Picture 1: Alan Mak MP at the opening of the firm’s new distribution centre at Dunsbury Park
Picture 2: Alan Mak MP with FatFace Chairman Lord Rose