Hinkley is ‘huge boost’ for Weston

Hinkley Point C.

Hinkley Point C. - Credit: Archant

A TOTAL of 244 businesses based in North Somerset have signed up to be partners for the Hinkley Point C project – something which could be a ‘huge benefit’ to the district’s economy.

There is currently an air of uncertainty surrounding the project after French energy company EDF failed to finalise funding arrangements on schedule.

It is hoped the English and French Governments could reach agreement by June but EDF says it will not continue with the next phase of the work until all investment is in place.

But, if the scheme does go ahead as planned, North Somerset is due to be very much involved in the project, from cleaning and building work to transporting the workforce to and from the planned nuclear plant.

North Somerset Council’s deputy leader, whose portfolio includes economic development, Elfan Ap Rees, said: “There are 244 local businesses in North Somerset who have registered to be providers for the project.

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“It means they are registered to provide services for the project as sub-contractors to the main contractor who will be delivering the project.

“It is going to be a huge benefit for North Somerset.

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“They are looking to do a designated bus service to and from the site as well so even if people are commuting from Weston it’s do-able.”

John West Contractors is one of the Weston businesses to sign up.

Its managing director, Mark Bass, said: “John West will be doing the repair and maintenance within the hotels. There’s 1,500 rooms so there’s going to be a lot to be done.

“That’s probably three full-time staff members on site all the time.

“We will probably be hiring more staff and there is a trickle down too.

“If something specialist needs to be replaced then we would let that out to local contractors.

“That trickle down effect is going to be massive. People need to get buses to the site so there will be bus services. Workers will be staying in hotels in Weston, they will need to eat at night, they will be going to local pubs in the evening.

“Hopefully there will be quite a lot of that work coming back into the local environment.”

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