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Somerset 3D


2010 – The Decade of Opportunity for Somerset

Business opportunities & investments: Hinkley Point Development & the Nuclear Energy Supply Chain; Building Schools for the Future Programme; Taunton Firepool Development; plans for the Royal Bath & West Showground

The Somerset in Business Conference, one of the key events in Somerset’s business calendar (Tuesday 4 May), is expected to attract more than 220 delegates from the Somerset business community, eager to hear how they can benefit from in excess of £390 million investment value and the creation of 7,850 new jobs from four of the county’s biggest developments over the next decade: Hinkley Point Development; Building Schools for the Future programme; Taunton Firepool Development; and the Royal Bath & West Showground.

Rupert Cox, Chief Executive of inward investment organisation Somerset 3D, says, “Somerset is focused on stepping out of the recession and into the future. We have the potential both to enhance existing Somerset businesses and to promote the county to inward investors through these exciting projects. In addition to the business benefits, there are also immense lifestyle benefits for those choosing to relocate to Somerset.”

Hinkley Point Development
EDF Energy’s current plans (planning permission is still in the consultation phase) to build a third-generation nuclear power station on the 86 hectare site at Hinkley are expected to create approximately 350 direct permanent jobs and over 2,000 temporary jobs during the peak construction period, as well as further indirect jobs. In line with EDF’s global programme of producing safe, affordable, reliable, low-carbon electricity in the UK, the plant would generate around 1,600 megawatts of electricity – enough for about two million homes in the UK.

Chris Langdon, consultant to Somerset 3D, who has been working to develop a supply chain says, “Although the project is still in its consultation phase, creation of a local supply chain for Hinkley Tier 1 and 2 contractors is excellent news for the county and should help promote Somerset as having a range of ‘nuclear ready’ contractors able to deliver. Successful companies will be in a good position to support future nuclear-related projects worldwide, strengthening Somerset’s profile as a high-skill, high performance and business-ready workforce.”

Firepool, Taunton
Firepool, located at the former livestock market in the heart of Taunton (just two miles from Junction 25 of the main M5 route along the South West corridor), is the first phase of Project Taunton, a 123 acre town centre regeneration scheme. With a total predicted investment value of £270 million, it is anticipated the project will create 4,000 jobs. Delivered by St. Modwen in partnership with Taunton Deane Borough Council, Firepool comprises 16.5 acres of brownfield land which will be redeveloped on a phased basis over 12 years.

The redevelopment project is expected to provide 500,000 sq ft of offices; a new travel link from the station to the town centre through the heart of Firepool; a new waterside plaza with leisure facilities, restaurants, cafés, bars, retail outlets, food stores, a hotel and 600 space multi-storey car park, open space and riverside walks; and more than 400 homes including waterfront apartments and town houses enabling people to live and work locally.

Pete Davies, Development Manager for St. Modwen, comments, “Firepool is set to transform the town centre and deliver significant business and community benefits to Somerset’s county town. The modern office space at Firepool will provide a fantastic river setting located between town centre facilities and the mainline railway station.”

Bath and West Showground Development
The £120 million mixed use project on the showground site is expected to turn the location into a compelling year-round visitor destination and help secure the future of the existing showground operation. Uses on the site will actively relate to farming, agriculture, rural leisure and the rural economy, showcasing the best of the region and stimulating the regional economy. The development will provide exciting opportunities for commerce and retail and its aim is to achieve total energy sufficiency by incorporating advanced renewable technologies. The development is expected to create 1,500 jobs. Richard Froggatt, managing Director of London and Wharfedale Ltd, a development partner to The Royal Bath and West Society on the project is a recent addition to the Somerset 3D Board.

Why Somerset – an investor’s perspective
The conference will hear from an inspirational group of business people, all of whom have relocated into Somerset and are eager to share their views on the benefits and challenges that face new investors.

Paul Simmons of IBM, comments, “IBM is extremely keen to support local residents, whether this is realised through increased trade for local suppliers, job creation or actively supporting the work of community groups in Highbridge and Somerset. For example, we have hired ex-service personnel who were injured in Iraq, helped some long-term unemployed back into work, and are working with Bridgwater College on potential training schemes.”