Food Enterprise Zone announced for North Somerset
PUBLISHED: 11:15 01 April 2015 | UPDATED: 11:15 01 April 2015
A NEW hub for food and drink businesses will be created in Weston after the Government announced North Somerset Council would receive a £50,000 grant.
North Somerset was one of six councils in the country included on a list to become a Food Enterprise Zone.
Food Enterprise Zones aim to forge stronger links between farmers, manufacturers, retailers and researchers.
It is hoped the initiative will make it easier for businesses to expand, as well as enabling new ones to be set up.
A South West Food and Drink Innovation Centre will also be created at the Junction 21 Enterprise Area in Weston.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs made the announcement after the council’s successful bid, which had the support of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Further aims include the creation of a teaching rooms, kitchens and testing facilities. The project will also provide space for food and drink manufacturers in North Somerset to expand into.
It is hoped it will lead to the creation of new jobs and can be used by Weston College students.
The council’s chief executive, Mike Jackson, said: “We are keen to build on the success of our existing food and drink industry in North Somerset and be seen as one of the leading areas in the country in food development.
“With our combination of rich rural heritage and thriving local producers, food is an important part of our economy and a market in which we excel.
“It makes sense to strengthen this further by helping businesses through the creation of a Food Enterprise Zone.”
North Somerset is home to a number of high-profile food businesses including Thatchers Cider, Butcombe Brewery and Yeo Valley, as well many smaller producers.
Colin Skellett, chair of the LEP said: “This is terrific news.
“A Food Enterprise Zone supports the local economy by providing a focus for local food producers and will help the West of England bring forward plans for a Food and Drink Innovation Centre in the J21 Enterprise Area.”