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New Forest Economic Development Strategy 2018-2023

The District Council's motto is 'Old Yet Ever New' and in developing a new Economic Development Strategy this is a practical place to start. The New Forest economy is hugely diverse; diverse in terms of the businesses located within, the geographical landscape of the district and the workforce which shapes the local economy.

This diversity in many respects is an asset; it means that the district's economy is not reliant upon a single industry, but in other respects it presents a variety of challenges. The overarching challenge is that of the need to balance the district's environmental assets with the ambition for a vibrant and growing local economy.

Whilst the New Forest economy is amongst the largest in Hampshire, its overall growth does not reflect this for a variety of reasons. An ageing workforce, an underrepresentation of high value added sectors and a high proportion of unskilled residents are all limiting factors.

Although the New Forest is predominantly rural, it does not mean that it cannot be ambitious in striving for higher value jobs, ensuring a skilled workforce and benefit from greater connectivity. Through this strategy, the District Council seeks to create an environment which offers opportunities for young people, poses an attractive option for business investment and delivers a culture in which indigenous businesses can thrive. These objectives are not delivered at the expense of the traditional local economy but if achieved in the correct manner, will add value to them.

This strategy sets out a vision to tackle the identified barriers to growth in five key themes. These are as follows:

  • Developing a Skilled Workforce
  • Increasing Growth and Productivity
  • Developing Local Infrastructure
  • Facilitating Vibrant Towns and Villages
  • Promoting the Unique New Forest Offer

Within each of these themes, a series of specific actions have been identified to address the issues set out.

Whilst the District Council are the authors of this strategy, the authority will not be alone in terms of the delivery of its actions. The District Council is committed to working in partnership with other organisations to ensure the successful and efficient delivery of the objectives.

The strategy sets out a five year vision with individual work programmes extending across this time period. It is accepted however that during the life of this strategy there is a degree of uncertainty about the economy at a number of levels. Therefore this strategy will be subject to review and revision throughout its life although the overall themes will remain.

adobe icon New Forest District Council Economic Development Strategy 2018-23 [3Mb]

Updated: 15 Nov 2018
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