Somerset Chamber of Commerce’s Chief Executive, Stephen Henagulph, joined civic dignitaries, business leaders and directors from London-based Merchant Banking business Salamanca Group for the official turf cutting ceremony at the Gravity site at Junction 23 of the M5.
The 635-acres former Royal Ordnance Factory site near Bridgwater is being developed by Salamanca into a ‘clean growth’ enterprise zone, creating an immersive, connected, intelligent and sustainable environment to attract some of the world’s most innovative businesses.
Mr Henagulph said both Salamanca and Somerset Chamber shared a similar passion for Gravity to be the incubator for delivering the next high-growth region of the UK, by boosting the local economy by investing in skills, innovation and transport via ‘clean growth’ and embracing leading-edge areas in Artificial Intelligence, advanced engineering and robotics.
The Gravity project will become the catalyst for the M5 Corridor and wider South West, centred around Somerset, not only to rival, but to overtake areas like the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.
Gravity will be home to a variety of businesses which provide solutions to sustainable economic growth in a form of components, platforms, goods or services. In addition, the physical site infrastructure will be developed to enable all businesses to become part of a system that supports environmentally sustainable economic growth.
Speaking at Somerset Chamber of Commerce’s economic update last month, Martin Bellamy, Chairman and Chief Executive of Salamanca Group said the group had invested in the site due to its size, established infrastructure and attributes, strong local political drive and ability to act as a catalyst to strengthen the South West’s regional proposition.
Mr Bellamy said: “Gravity’s ambition to become the UK’s leading Innovation Campus in Clean Growth is a wider opportunity for the Bristol – Exeter corridor. The concept of the South West as a dynamic heart of Clean Growth in the UK is achievable and capable of bringing new investment, partnerships and businesses to the area.
“It would be a sustainable point of differentiation between the South West and the rest of the UK, namely The Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine and Oxford-Cambridge arc.
“Gravity wants to be an active partner with local stakeholders to transform this ambition into reality. As a new member of the business community, we’re keen to work in collaboration with the region to support the local and regional industrial strategies.”