Salamanca Group, the London-based Merchant Banking business and member of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, announces its vision to transform a 635-acre site in Somerset into an innovation campus – a new era of enterprise zone. With guidance from a team of economic analysts and master planning experts, Salamanca Group, which has experience of acquiring, developing and maintaining award-winning commercial sites, will deliver and operate an innovation campus responding to the shifting global trends in consumption, automation and digitalisation. The site, newly named Gravity, will be an immersive, connected, intelligent and sustainable environment that will attract some of the world’s most innovative businesses.
Clean growth is at the epicentre of the vision, grounding the strategy. Gravity will be a home to a variety of businesses who 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 an ecosystem that supports environmentally sustainable economic growth.
Strategically located in the South West with direct access to an intermodal mix of international transport connections of road, rail, air and deep-sea port, it is envisaged the mixed-use facility will attract a range of tenants with one core objective – a cleaner global future. In line with this, the first tenant, a low-carbon energy generation facility is anticipated to be on-site from summer 2020. Other high value businesses are expected to be manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, robotics and artificial intelligence, electric vehicle, assembly and distribution space, R&D and office. Due to the site’s size, these businesses will be able to benefit from a flexible plot structure helping them to transform their business and future-proof.
The combination of like-minded businesses enables an environment of innovation. From inventors in incubation space to experts in advanced manufacturing, the site will offer a prime opportunity to deliver R&D linkages and innovation as a result of knowledge sharing and cross pollination. The scale of the site allows for an ever-evolving ecosystem centred around fluid growth. Gravity will be an agile place that is able to support tomorrow’s workforce who are constantly re-thinking, re-imaging and re-defining the future.
Responding to a cultural trend towards future workplaces with a focus on employee well-being, the site will be developed to provide a conscious, healthy environment for a workforce where businesses gain from the social, environmental and economic benefits. Importantly, exceptional place qualities will be highlighted by the blurring of boundaries between work and play, for both those who will work there and those who wish to enjoy it. A range of leisure facilities, amenities and all public space will be available for the local community to use.
Inspired by the force of attraction, the Gravity brand will be designed to be ever-evolving that grows through time, changing and reflecting its natural environment and human activity on-site.
Martin Bellamy, CEO of Salamanca Group, comments, “Today’s announcement, launching the vision at the Sedgemoor Business Conference, is an important step. We’re committed to delivering creativity, innovation and welcoming a pioneering spirit from our future partners to drive inward investment to this region.”
“The real estate market is traditionally slow in responding to behavioural trends and disruptive technologies. By looking at examples internationally, in particular from the USA and the Netherlands, our vision has been carefully considered to respond to these trends. The site’s flexibility is key, and we will provide businesses with an adaptive structure connected by a multi-functional landscape and infrastructure framework suited for demands of modern businesses and their employees.”
“Geared for a cleaner future powered by people and our innovation capabilities, Gravity will welcome some of the world’s most innovative companies to the UK. Gravity is the future, naturally. We’re thrilled to be working alongside Sedgemoor District Council who are proactive and dedicated to supporting the delivery of the site.”
Councillor Duncan McGinty, Leader of Sedgemoor District Council comments, “Gravity is a major opportunity for Sedgemoor that has the capability of transforming the economy, creating high value growth and proving increased opportunities for local people and business. The council welcomes Salamanca Group’s bold vision to attract inward investment and providing a Hinkley Point C legacy. This exciting opportunity will place Sedgemoor at the forefront of sustainable growth in the South West. We are working closely with Salamanca Group to deliver both benefits to the local community as well as providing a welcoming and supportive environment to new investors.”
Steve Hindley, Chairman of Heart of the South West LEP comments, “The Local Enterprise Partnership is delighted that this prime development site is embarking on a new era of prosperity with the investment from Salamanca Group to develop it into an innovation campus focused on clean growth.
The site is a strategic business location at one of the Heart of the South West’s multi-site Enterprise Zones, which offer economic opportunities in our key sectors, and enable the local area to retain a greater share of business rates to re-invest and generate further new jobs and growth.
We welcome Salamanca Group to the Heart of the South West and look forward to welcoming the new innovative businesses that they will be marketing to on a global platform.”
On-site physical works are progressing with former owners, BAE Systems, and remediation works are forecast to complete on time at the end of 2019.