Deal for one-of-a-kind FoodWorks sealed to help bring jobs to Weston
PUBLISHED: 17:03 19 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:03 19 March 2019
Plans for a food centre in Weston have taken a step forward this afternoon (Tuesday).
A business from Nottingham – The Food and Drink Forum Ltd – has been awarded a 15-year deal to run the FoodWorksSW.
The site, near the airport roundabout on the A370, will be home to a whole host of food-related firms in the years to come.
North Somerset Council expects 250 jobs will be created through the venture.
Work on the £11.8million FoodWorks began last year and the council says the project is ‘progressing well’.
Funded by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership through the Local Growth Fund, the FoodWorks will be the only centre of its kind in the South West.
There will be a dozen business units to lease and four product development areas, with exhibition, training and workshop space plus meeting rooms and a café making up the rest of the site.
Deputy council leader Elfan Ap Rees said: “This is a 15-year contract for the operation of the FoodWorks which is currently in the early stages of construction at Weston Airfield.
“It (The Food and Drink Forum) has a good history of projects like this.
“It currently operates similar places in Nottingham and Leicester.
“It has been operating more than 20 years.
“We are looking to develop this service in North Somerset and the idea is there will be a £170,000 profit (over the full term).
“We have put in a (£300,000) subsidy for the first few years to cover any shortfall.
“There will be new opportunities for businesses in North Somerset – nowhere else in the region has anything like this.
“The Food WorksSW will undoubtedly benefit from a commercial operator with experience and a track record of operating business centres.
“Under the agreement, The Food and Drink Forum will manage all aspects of the FoodWorksSW on our behalf.
“All the expenditure and costs will be covered by charges and rents from users of the centre with any profits put back into the centre to increase and improve the range of facilities and support for businesses.”
The FoodWorks is due to open in 12 months’ time.
Council leader Nigel Ashton said: “This really is a good news story.”