RAF site may stop jobs exodus

A TWO-PRONGED strategy to attract employers and create jobs on the former RAF Locking site has been unveiled. The old airbase, now called Locking Parklands, is jointly owned by the South West Regional Development Agency and English Partnerships. It is bei

A TWO-PRONGED strategy to attract employers and create jobs on the former RAF Locking site has been unveiled.The old airbase, now called Locking Parklands, is jointly owned by the South West Regional Development Agency and English Partnerships.It is being transformed into a mixed-use site as part of a regeneration scheme, with an emphasis on creating more jobs in Weston to lower the number of people who commute from the resort each day.Specialist property advisers GVA Grimley, working with the agencies, has been targeting Government departments as well as high-technology and fast-growing companies to entice them to Weston.A total of 2,000 companies have been sent information so far.A precision tool-making firm, Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology, currently based in Yatton, has already submitted plans to North Somerset Council and hopes to be the first company to move relocate to Locking.The company's relocation will create more than 60 jobs and could be completed by late 2008.Senior regional partner at GVA Grimley, Mark Brunsdon, said: "A recent report identified that Government departments do not need to be based in central London and raised the possibility of some moving to the regions."Over the past three weeks we have presented to various Government departments the benefits of relocating to Weston, such as its attractive open spaces and access to the motorway."The Lyons Report, released earlier this year, is a study into how local government can be improved.Mr Brunsdon added: "There is not the available floor space in Weston to attract businesses at present."That is why the first phase of development at Locking will include a 30,000sq ft innovation centre with space for up to 70 small businesses and a 20,000sq ft office block with room for between one to six businesses.


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