Innovation Zone in Somerset

The Chancellor’s mini-budget this morning announced that Somerset would have one of 38 new “innovation zones” This is likely to be at the Gravity Park just north of Bridgwater. Businesses in designated areas in investment zones will benefit from 100% business rates relief on newly occupied and expanded premises. Local authorities hosting Investment Zones will receive 100% of the business rates growth above an agreed baseline in designated sites for 25 years.

the news was welcomed by local council leaders.

Councillor Bill Revans, Leader of Somerset County Council said: “We need to see the detail of how a new Investment Zone will work, but I am very pleased that Somerset looks like it could be a pioneer for the concept. With our plans for the Gravity site, our support for renewables and Hinkley Point C coming on stream later in the decade, we can put Somerset at the heart of the new Green Energy revolution. We have also identified significant growth opportunities in our other major towns. There is a prize here to be seized – and we have our eyes on that prize.

Councillor Duncan McGinty, Leader of Sedgemoor District Council commented: “I broadly welcome Investment Zones for the Somerset.  This could be an important tool for Somerset, with significant investment opportunities like Hinkley Point C, and Gravity in Sedgemoor.  We will also work extremely hard to make sure that Sedgemoor remains a green and climate-friendly area.” 

The former Royal Ordnance Factory north of Bridgwater has been identified as a potential site for a Gigafactory. The 616-acre site has the potential for an onsite rail terminal and sits by J23 of the M5 motorway. The total project could deliver up to 7,500 skilled jobs in the County.

One comment

  • I await the details of this plan with interest and some trepidation. In particular the proposal to remove planning applications for housing development in the zones rather concerning. At face value it looks like a charter for greedy developers to destroy even more countryside by throwing up poor quality, hastily built houses with no supporting infrastructure and no concern for the existing communities. That already goes on under the current system so goodness knows what this will do.

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