250 new jobs for Weston as £11.3m food centre wins planning approval

An artist's impression of FoodWorks SW in Weston-super-Mare.

An artist's impression of FoodWorks SW in Weston-super-Mare. - Credit: Sub

A flagship food and drink centre which will cost more than £11million and create up to 250 jobs will be built in Weston after winning planning approval.

The FoodWorks SW development will be created at the Junction 21 Enterprise Area after North Somerset Council’s planning and regulatory committee gave it the green light yesterday (Wednesday).

The project, which will be mostly funded through a £9.36million grant from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, has the potential to ‘create jobs and wealth for the whole district and beyond’, according to planning experts.

One of the two FoodWorks buildings will offer exhibition space, meeting rooms, and areas for product development and food and drink research.

The second will include 12 business units of up to 100sqm, each earmarked for start-up and growing food businesses, with a second phase of the project set to include some larger business units too.

A report presented to the committee ahead of its decision, praised the ‘attractive and characterful’ architects’ vision, and heralded the proposed buildings’ ‘landmark features’.

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The report said: “Occupation of these units is designed to be short or medium-term and users will be encouraged to move on to larger more permanent accommodation once their product becomes established.

“These proposals will deliver the first phase of a high quality regional food and drink enterprise zone that will encourage the development of new technologies and businesses, creating jobs and wealth for the whole district and beyond.”

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The council’s executive member for economic development, Elfan Ap Rees, says the authority has high hopes for the FoodWorks iniative.

He said: “FoodWorksSW will provide a regional centre of excellence for food and drink manufacturers to help new businesses get started and established producers to innovate and grow.

“Situated within the DEFRA-designated Food Enterprise Zone, it will create around 250 jobs as part of our employment-led regeneration of the Weston area.”

Building work is expected to start in the autumn, with an anticipated opening at the end of 2018 or early in 2019.

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