New LEP chairman 'proud'

PUBLISHED: 08:00 27 June 2016 | UPDATED: 08:17 27 June 2016

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The new chairman of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) says North Somerset should be 'proud' of Weston's upcoming developments.

The LEP works with local authorities in Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset to support business growth and increase job prospects.

Stephen Robertson, whose appointment was announced last week, told the Mercury he is very pleased to be taking on the role.

He said: “I have already enjoyed meeting with all the leaders so far and discussing how we can work together. This includes North Somerset Council leader Nigel Ashton, who has been very helpful.

“This job is about the four local authorities working together, and the hope is we can make better decisions that way.”

Mr Robertson also said creating jobs across the region is one of his biggest priorites for his time at the helm.

He told the Mercury: “I will be making a trip to Weston soon to see the college and all the great work it is doing.

“I am hugely impressed with what I have seen and there is also Dolphin Square to think about.

“These are two things North Somerset should be very proud of.”

Weston College is currently in the process of becoming a university – as well as building a new study centre and law building at the Winter Gardens.

Dolphin Square is also undergoing a £45million redevelopment, including a Cineworld cinema and a host of restaurants.

Mr Robertson added: “One thing I am really keen to work on is opportunities for young people.

“That is key in Weston with the college. It is not just about businesses, but it is about harnessing skills.

“What I am hoping to do is look at each area and think about what skills are needed and make sure all the education is provided.”

The LEP is currently working on the Junction 21 enterprise area, which covers 178 acres of employment land in Weston.

This project aims to provide 10,000 jobs by 2026, with developments such as the North Somerset Enterpise and Technology College, which aims to create young skilled workers ready to enter the world of industry once they graduate.

Mr Robertson has taken over the role from Colin Skellett, who had been chairman since the LEP’s formation in 2011.

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