Ambitious plans for business growth, more jobs and sustainable transport links in the Somer Valley area have been given a boost with additional investment from the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).
WECA approved the outline business case for the £12m Somer Valley Enterprise Zone and awarded £746,000 to Bath & North East Somerset Council to support the £1.151m development phase for the full business case.
Somerset Chamber Chief Executive, Stephen Henagulph, welcomed the news and said it would help to boost employment opportunities for people in the Midsomer Norton and Radstock area.
“Developments such as these help to attract additional investment in the local area, bringing new jobs, new homes and improved infrastructure. It will also enable people to work closer to where they live rather than having to commute into Bristol or Bath,” Mr Henagulph said.
The full project is valued at £12.13m and will involve land acquisition, off site utilities, on site infrastructure and a cycle path linking the Enterprise Zone with Midsomer Norton. WECA has also allocated £10.7m towards the £10.9 implementation phase.
Somer Valley was allocated Enterprise Zone status in April 2017 and the 13.5-hectare site, to the west of Midsomer Norton on the A362, is anticipated to deliver a development mix up to 40,000m2 of mixed commercial space.
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “I want to improve everyone’s opportunity to succeed, whether it’s inspiring young people in their careers, improving people’s skills to get on at work, supporting businesses to grow or encouraging new businesses to invest in the West of England.
The Somer Valley Enterprise Zone will help ensure that people living in and around the area have the opportunity to be part of our region’s continued growth and success.”
Cllr Dine Romero, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “Not only is it good to see investment that will help create jobs for our area, it is also welcome to see infrastructure plans that take into account sustainable transport options like a cycle path.”
Bath & North East Somerset Council is also developing a separate outline business case related to the highways infrastructure for the Enterprise Zone.