Sedgemoor District Council has this week welcomed the multi-million pound sale of a 635-acre site near to Junction 23 of the M5 motorway, saying the deal will unlock new potential to deliver major economic benefits across the area.
The land at Puriton, currently known as Huntspill Energy Park, was once used for making explosives as The Royal Ordnance Factory.
It has been sold from BAE Systems to Salamanca Group, a London-based Merchant Banking business.
Sedgemoor District Council says that, when completed, the new business park is expected to create over 4,000 new jobs.
The site will be developed over coming years with a focus on energy related uses, with activities such as manufacturing, logistics and other industry and business.
“With low-carbon, on-site energy production as its focus, the land will attract interest from companies and supply chains due to its closeness to Hinkley Point C,” says the council.
The site was given Enterprise Zone status by the Government, which the council says makes it a “golden opportunity” to develop.
Cllr Duncan McGinty, Leader of the Council, told Burnham-On-Sea.com on Monday that the developed site will “create thousands of jobs and be a vital source for the skills and expertise needed by the Government to deliver its economic ambitions.”
“We are delighted that Salamanca Group has chosen to invest in this UK site that will cement a place for the South West as a centre for the research, development and delivery of the facilities we will need to meet this country’s energy demands,” he said.
“This project is central to our corporate strategy and we are excited about the positive impact the site will have on Sedgemoor and the wider regional economy.”
“We prioritise an employment-led approach and the development of this project is of utmost importance to achieving our ambitions. We will be able to inspire our young people, generate new opportunities and retain our well-educated work force, creating a revitalised, higher value and sustainable economy into the future.”
“It will provide exceptional opportunities for local people and businesses in the future.”
Martin Bellamy of Salamanca Group added: “The country faces exciting challenges and the commercial world needs to know we are open for business.”
“This transformational project opens the West of England to the very best national and international companies providing key financial and energy benefits. This will be the business hub for the future.”
“As strategic investors, we have and will continue to use our deep relationships with key partners to deliver this project. We will now work closely with the council, local communities and other partners to achieve the optimal future for the site and, by extension, the local economy.”
The Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF Bridgwater) was constructed in 1939 for the manufacture of explosives, eventually closing in 2008.
The factory was owned and operated by BAE Systems who will retain responsibility for decommissioning and remediating the site, a process which the company has completed safely at many other former ROFs across the UK in the past 25 years.
Once transformed, the site will deliver a significant boost to the local economy and employment.
It is predicted that once fully operational as South West England’s leading commercial and business centre, the site will create more than 4,400 jobs and will generate in the region of £125m of business rates.
Pictured: Top, the entrance to the site and, above, the site circled on a map