Growing business park is a Gateway to Weston’s future...

PUBLISHED: 10:23 20 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:01 20 December 2014

A hotel and bespoke offices for the nuclear industry are among the next phases to be developed.

A hotel and bespoke offices for the nuclear industry are among the next phases to be developed.

Archant

IT IS already home to an award-winning office block and a £2million pub, but major plans for 2015 mean new jobs at a key Weston business site will soon total around 1,300.

The new Knightstone Housing offices.The new Knightstone Housing offices.

People travelling in and out of Weston will have noticed Weston Gateway Business Park (WGBP) beginning to take shape over the past year or so.

Knightstone Housing’s new flagship HQ has been built at the front of the junction 21 site, and Greene King’s popular Super Mare pub has opened alongside.

However, this is just the beginning, with planning permission now secured for further office development and a 120-bed hotel set to follow.

A number of smaller commercial units already have consent too, while £28million of funding has been secured to develop the entire site.

Gemma Day of Dowlas UK, the woman behind Weston Gateway Business Park.Gemma Day of Dowlas UK, the woman behind Weston Gateway Business Park.

Crucially, many traditional development obstacles have already been cleared.

Vital infrastructure such as roads, gas, electricity, water and fibre optics are already in place across the whole park, and its status as an enterprise area means planning applications can be fast-tracked in just six weeks.

That means forthcoming developments – including an Enterprise House office development earmarked for the nuclear industry and a hotel for an as-yet-unnamed national chain – are likely to get under way early in the new year.

Gemma Day, of site developer Dowlas UK, said: “WGBP has, since 2009, been putting the future development of Weston as a centre of business excellence into action.

The planned Weston Gateway Business Park.The planned Weston Gateway Business Park.

“I can now confirm that we have full planning for Enterprise House and aim to begin construction in January.

“This will be a 26,000 sq ft commercial office unit that is available in suites from 2,500 sq ft upwards and will house up to 250 jobs.

“The next project that we envisage to begin construction is a 120-bed hotel on the front corner plot and again, we hope to begin this next year.

“The mini-business park at the back of the site will be able to house units from 2,500 sq ft and is consented for a mixture of light industrial and commercial units.

“The final job count for entire site will be circa 1,300.”

Forward-thinking has been key to getting the project to this stage.

The infrastructure investment of £1.5million was made during the nation’s economic downturn, giving WGBP a head-start when industry began to recover.

That means WGBP is effectively ‘the only such project-ready site along the M5 corridor’ – while the 40,000 sq ft Knightstone HQ, which is home to 300 jobs, was the second largest commercial office building completed outside of London in 2013.

Central to the thinking behind the project remains boosting Weston’s economy and supporting North Somerset industry.

Ms Day added: “Dowlas originated in Weston and is now based in Cheddar. It is a family-run business that supports the North Somerset economy in various ways.

“All contractors at the site are sourced locally as much as possible; Dowlas is keen to employ the local work force on this project.”


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