New ‘innovation centre’ to transform Weston into regional leader?

PUBLISHED: 08:00 06 June 2016

The proposals are set to boost Weston's business reputation.

The proposals are set to boost Weston's business reputation.

Archant

A multi-million-pound food innovation centre is set to create hundreds of jobs in Weston-super-Mare and give the town’s reputation as a business hub a significant ‘regional boost’.

The dedicated South West Food Innovation Centre will be located in the junction 21 Enterprise Zone, close to the M5, and will create more than 160 jobs in food manufacturing, testing and production.

The £9million project is being led by North Somerset Council, with support in learning opportunities coming from both Weston College and the University of the West of England (UWE).

The council is hoping the project, which is also being supported by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), will be backed by Government funding.

A council spokesman said: “The design is being finalised over the coming months, but the centre is aimed at food development and manufacturing and will be a regional centre to boost the profile of the sector and this area as a business location, particularly the junction 21 Enterprise Area.

“As well as during the construction period, the project is expected to initially create more than 160 jobs. This will increase as more businesses move in and out of the units over time.

“It is (also) expected more jobs will be created off-site in a range of other businesses and sectors supporting the centre and benefitting from the work undertaken out of the centre.”

If the authority’s bid for funding is successful, work will start in spring 2017 and the centre will consist of three specialist departments.

The council’s spokesman said: “These will be a business centre for meetings, training, support, advice and opportunities to showcase regional food and drink, product development to provide specialist technical facilities and equipment to support businesses wanting to develop new, or improve existing products, and business workspaces, consisting of food-grade small units for new and growing businesses.”

In order to kick-start the project, the council also awarded £30,000 to a business development programme based at the site’s designated food enterprise zone, which will be used as a ‘pilot’ scheme for a longer-term programme once the centre is built.

The council has also launched a public consultation which, if successful, could see automatic outline planning permission granted to food businesses which are looking to open within the enterprise zone.

A council report into the development programme said: “The primary aim of the business development programme is to build a strong reputation for supporting SME (small and medium enterprise) growth and innovation in the food and drink sector, before the proposed new South West Food Innovation Centre is built.

“The programme is to be used as a pilot for a longer-term support programme that will eventually be delivered from the centre.”

More from Weston Mercury

32 minutes ago

A GP practice has agreed to improve safety for its patients in a bid to get the go-ahead to build a surgery.

Read more
Congresbury Yatton

People living in Highbridge could lose their community’s library as early as next month.

Read more
Highbridge
Yesterday, 19:46

The king of rock ‘n’ roll Elvis Presley’s greatest hits will be brought to life again in Weston this month, with one of the best tribute acts in the country taking to the stage.

Read more
Yesterday, 19:31

Prime Minister Theresa May has handed Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose a role in Government.

Read more
Yesterday, 19:00

An East Brent woman has been given an award for service to the community.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:58

Five pubs in Weston have been recognised for their excellent real ale selection by being included in the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) 2019 Good Beer Guide.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:00

Model railway enthusiasts gathered in Highbridge to spend the day indulging their passion.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:31

The Cases Somerset Rebels management will be holding a fans forum at the Oaktree Arena to explain their decision to revert to the championship.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:00

A blue plaque honouring Dr Fox has been unveiled on his original bath house on Knightstone Island.

Read more
Weston Town Council Weston-super-Mare
Yesterday, 12:28

Hornets defeated Midsomer Norton in a high-scoring Somerset Cup quarter-final tie.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 4°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists