THE body that brings together business and councils to boost the economy says it can be credited with the creation of 1,601 jobs in the past three years.

The chairman of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) says the county can be “one of Britain’s core city regions” by 2033.

In its annual report, the LEP says it has also generated 367 homes and leveraged £254.3million in private funding. It has seen 5,465 people trained and 1,749 businesses supported, the report says.

Local enterprise partnerships bring together councils with the private sector to bid for cash from the government for their regions’ economic priorities.

This year, Dorset LEP attracted another £19.5m from government, bringing its total growth funding to £98.5m.

In his introduction to the report, chairman Gordon Page says: “Our vision is that by 2033 Dorset will be one of Britain’s Core City-Regions, and the most sustainable of these.”

He said the LEP was focused on building a competitive economy; attracting and retaining high skilled workers and supporters; supporting affordable homes; and promoting a world-class environment and high quality of life.

Money has been spent on major improvements such as the rebuilding of the A338 Spur Road and the improvement of access to Poole via the A349 at Gravel Hill.

A £7.3m project to improve the approaches to Poole Bridge is currently in progress, although delayed. The whole package of work on the Port of Poole is expected to create 2,500 jobs.

Other projects in the current budget include improvements to Wallisdown Road and the transformation of the Lansdowne area.

Work is under way on Dorset Innovation Park, an Enterprise Zone which is intended as a regional centre of excellence in advanced engineering, on the site of the former Atomic Research Establishment at Winfrith.

Dorset LEP director Lorna Carver said: “Dorset LEP and its partners have raised Dorset’s reputation as a great place to do business on a national and global scale and look forward to continuing in years to come.

“Our strengths are diverse, ranging from the defence sector to tourism, but all are helping to attract inward investment and make Dorset a better place to live and work.”