Weston’s leading lights join think-tank to unite county

Michelle Michael addresses Passion For Somerset.

Michelle Michael addresses Passion For Somerset. - Credit: Archant

SOME of Weston’s most influential figures have joined a new Somerset-wide think-tank designed to unite the county and help it thrive financially.

The movers and shakers of Passion For Somerset.

The movers and shakers of Passion For Somerset. - Credit: Archant

Passion For Somerset has been launched with the goal of bringing the county’s disparate communities together for the common good.

Passion For Somerset founder Andrew Scott.

Passion For Somerset founder Andrew Scott. - Credit: Archant

With no single body governing the county since it fragmented into a number of local authorities, group members say a united front is key to Somerset’s future prosperity.

Founder Andrew Scott - chief executive of Weston-based Ascot Group – says the group aims to draw upon the experience and entrepreneurial brilliance of its members to create a bright future.

Mr Scott said: “Somerset is so diverse, with artificially-drawn areas such as North Somerset not being represented at Government level.

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“We believe this is the first organisation that will speak for the whole of Somerset and drive the agenda to help local people.”

Grand Pier co-owner Michelle Michael, Gemma Day, director of Weston Gateway Business Park developers Dowlas, Derek Biss of estate agents Greenslade Taylor Hunt and Denys Rayner, chief executive of Pardoes Solicitors are also among the group’s 20 founder members.

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Further backing comes from land-owner and developer Derek Mead and Neville Coles, principal of Worle’s respected Priory Community School.

The hope is that Weston can unite with leaders in Taunton, Bath, Yeovil, Portishead and Bridgwater to speak with one powerful voice to serve the whole county’s interests.

Early discussions have focused on boosting the tourism industry, attracting more visitors to the area, bringing fresh investment to Weston, and ensuring the town benefits from the economic surge expected to come with the new Hinkley Point development.

Mr Scott, whose firm has grown to provide 30 jobs in Weston in the past few years, with plans to create many more, added: “Everyone on Passion For Somerset is a successful proactive person with a passion to see the whole of Somerset thrive financially and in entrepreneurship for the creation of jobs and inward investment.

“We aim to see the group carry real weight and vision, and to really put the county on the map. It is really good news for Weston and Somerset as a whole.”

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