Gravity has invited local residents, community organisations and businesses to learn more about the scheme from this website which will be publishing full details on 16 September, including a flyover video about the scheme. You will be able to submit comments from this date. If you have any questions the team can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those who would like to meet the Knowle Hill project team face-to-face, we are also running drop-in events that start at 6pm and 7pm on Wednesday, 16 September at 37 Club, Puriton.
To help us manage numbers for the drop-in events, booking is essential. You can book here. Please note that places will be issued on a first come first-served basis.
We hope to hear from you, whether online or in person, soon!
SOMERSET 20 JULY – Gravity is proud to share ‘ROF 37‘ a project that captures the unique industrial heritage of our site and shares never-before-heard stories of the former Royal Ordnance Factory – Bridgwater.
The South West Heritage Trust was commissioned by Sedgemoor District Council to produce the short film. Late last year the public was invited to share their memories at two Community Heritage Days held at the 37 Club. More than 20 former employees were interviewed by Somerset Film. The scope of the project included the recording of documents, photographs and memorabilia.
Click here to view the full South West Heritage Trust press release.
Watch the short film below.
Gravity, the UK’s first commercial smart campus, is the blueprint for a smarter, cleaner future – faster. It will deliver a new era of possibility by supporting companies making a difference socially, economically and environmentally, driving the UK’s shift to growing through a cleaner economy.
With direct access to the M5 and accessible by rail, air and sea, the site offers over 635 acres for the creation of millions of sq ft of scalable, flexible and shared working space.
Multinationals and start-ups will benefit from the excellent connectivity and speed of build out Gravity offers. By attracting today’s giants and tomorrow’s unicorns, there will be significant opportunities for collaboration.
With its on-site water provision, renewable and low carbon energy infrastructure and building energy management, dark fibre, excellent transport links, accessible talent pool and knowledge economy including four top-tier universities close by, Gravity provides occupiers with the ability to build, expand, and develop faster and efficiently.
About South West Heritage Trust
The South West Heritage Trust is an independent charity committed to protecting and celebrating Somerset and Devon’s rich heritage. As well as the widely-praised Museum of Somerset and the redeveloped Somerset Rural Life Museum, in Glastonbury, the Trust manages state-of-the-art facilities in Taunton and Exeter to care for the extraordinary archive collections of the two counties. The Trust also provides essential advice about the historic environment and manages historic sites. Visit swheritage.org.uk
Under normal circumstances, The 37 Club is a vibrant part of local life with an extensive bar and restaurant menu along with a varied entertainment calendar. But the Covid crisis brought this popular social club to a close on 23rd March with the staff on furlough. The impact of Covid-19 in general was felt across community life. For those most vulnerable groups during lockdown that uncertainty was being unable to access the nutritious food they need to improve and maintain their health.
In response, Gravity working alongside community stakeholders including Puriton & Woolavington Parish Councils and The 37 Club, decided to re-open the 37 Club’s kitchen to establish a meal delivery service that would produce and deliver much needed hot meals and support to those most in need.
The tireless efforts from our very own local heroes whom volunteered countless hours to ensure that the most vulnerable within Gravity’s surrounding communities were fed and received what human contact was permitted. Through the 12 weeks the service ran for, almost 7,500 meals were delivered.
Paul Lowndes, Gravity Programme Director, said: “I’m just amazed and delighted at the speed and willingness for everyone to get on board to make sure all of the people in this situation have a hot meal. To all of the fabulous volunteers supplying and delivering all of the food: thank you.”
The responses from those receiving the meals were amazing, many wrote warm, heartfelt messages of appreciation to everyone who made the service possible. Those cards are on display at The 37 Club.
Messages from the community
Please could you pass on our grateful thanks to all involved in delivering delicious meals to us over the last 12 weeks. This has been so helpful, during lockdown especially. We are so aware that many people have been involved in supply, cooking and delivering them to us and we would like them all to know of our appreciation for the time they have given to volunteer in this service.
We will miss our friendly meal providers and deliverers! But wish them well as we all slowly return to the new normal! With our heartfelt thanks………
Margaret Hart and Diane Woosley
Thank you so much for allowing me to receive the lovely meals cooked at 37club during the lockdown. They were a lifeline to us living alone and gave us something to look forward to each day. Will miss the daily delivery now. Much appreciated and a big thank you to everyone concerned.
Gravity would like to thank everybody who contributed to the service, with a special mention to Jan, Sandy, Sandra and Rachel of The 37 Club who volunteered their time to cook each and every of the delivered meals.
These achievements are the result of a huge collaborative effort driven by a unique community spirit with the willingness to look after its neighbours. The Gravity team hopes the actions exhibited during lockdown will be remembered for years to come.
Firstly, I hope this newsletter finds you, your family, and your colleagues safe and healthy. I would also like to thank the Gravity team and our partners, who, under unusual working conditions, have done some exceptional work and achieved great things. I would particularly like to pay my gratitude to the 37 Club for providing over 7,000 much-needed meals to the local community.
It’s exactly a year since we had ourGround Breaking event at Gravity; I believe the last two months have been some of the busiest. The Link Road and landscaping bund is well underway which I am sure the residents will be pleased about.
I also want to bring to your attention our newly launched video on Gravity, which you can watch here.
The Strategic Design Code and Landscape Masterplan are now with the council for consideration. Gravity is also working with the District Council to explore a new planning consent called a Local Development Order that seeks to create employment but also improves climate action and addresses broader sustainable development goals. This is going to be key to drive forward the strategic response to economic renewal and job creation.
Thank you to all those who contributed to the consultation event on the Village Enhancement Scheme. We will be submitting a full planning application on this as soon as possible.
I recently had the pleasure of discussing what Gravity means to the South West with MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, Ian Liddell-Grainger. You can watch the full interview here, including Mr. Liddell-Grainger’s response when I ask him what he would say to entice Mr. Elon Musk to Gravity!
Keeping open levels of communication is top of our list, and I am pleased to announce that we are re-instating our Drop-In sessions with the next one on the 8th July. These sessions are open to all, alternatively, do email us any queries if you wish to keep in touch from home.
We are anticipating a busy summer as we work with the Government department Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS),the Department of International Trade (DIT),and a plethora of entities in promoting the SW as vital in terms of strategic economic renewal post-Covid 19. Our work with BEISwill be centered on supporting the South West’s aim to become the UK’s hub for clean and inclusive growth. We will look at all opportunities to enable this, from rail restoration through to improving digital connectivity, exploring free port zone, through to targeting sectors and occupiers that would be a perfect fit and create higher-value job opportunities into the future.
I look forward to updating you on our progress in our September newsletter.
Thank you for your own going support, and please keep safe.
Gravity will be restarting the Q&A community drop-in sessions. These events are open to all, with the appropriate social distancing, so if you have any questions or want to know more about our project.
Please join us – you do not need to register in advance.
3 – 7pm
The 37 Club (TA7 8AD)
Link Road Update
A record-breaking Spring has kept the team ahead of schedule on the landscape bund, so far 60,000 tonnes of recycled blast mound material has been transported from the site to the Link Road. When complete, the landscape bund will act as a noise and visual barrier between activity on the Link Road and the local community.
The next step will be to submit plans to the council for the Village Enhancement Scheme to provide important links between Gravity and the two villages. Thank you to everyone that contributed to make this such a collaborative process and inform the design. This is very much appreciated. Plans should be submitted end of June/ early July.
Strategic Design Code & Landscape Masterplan
Already submitted to the council to discharge ‘site-wide’ planning conditions, these strategy documents take us a significant step forward in thinking through and communicating our ambition for clean growth and turning this into design guidance on which further planning applications will be assessed. These documents are available on the Council’s web site.
There is a good deal of work underway from; ecological surveys to keep our baseline up to date, crafting our clean growth principles and priorities, to initiating a digital masterplan and a refreshed transport strategy. We look forward to sharing our progress in our next newsletter.
Community Meal Delivery Service
With the incredible support of volunteers from The 37 Club, Woolavington & Puriton Parish Councils and the wider community, Gravity established a food delivery service. Its aim was to reach those locally who were most in need during self-isolation.
Since the service was set up, the team has served over 7,000 meals to the communities of Woolavington and Puriton.
The 37 Club has been inundated with heartfelt messages of gratitude from residents who have relied on this service.
We wanted to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has enabled us to deliver these meals and support the local communities. Feats like this are achieved collectively as a community, one that Gravity is proud to be a part of.
Heritage Film – Coming Soon
Unique memories of the Royal Ordnance Factory Bridgwater have been captured in an upcoming short film produced in collaboration between Sedgemoor District Council, South West Heritage Trust and Somerset Film. We look forward to sharing the film.
Gravity in the media
Since our last newsletter in April, Gravity has appeared across several media outlets including BBC Radio Somerset, The Times, The Driving Supplement of the Sunday Times and Property Week. It has been a great few months for investment in the South West and drawing attention to the potential of the region
Gravity’s Director – Planning and Economic Development, Claire Pearce, recently participated in a panel discussion hosted by The Built Environment Network. The webinar focused on the challenges and opportunities faced in delivery the Western Gateway – the new proposed powerhouse forming a collaborative approach between the West of England and South Wales.
Whist being located in the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership area, the Sedgemoor economy is closely aligned and functionally integrated with the Bath/ Bristol economy, and emerging opportunities relating to Free Port Zones, rail restoration and research into digital connectivity, will serve to build and strengthen relationships for example between Gravity and the airport, port and Bristol University.
Gravity is pleased to announce that Woolavington Road is now open. We are immensely proud of the Gravity team and Alun Griffiths who have worked diligently over the last few weeks to get this much-needed road open for the community.
To receive direct updates on the Gravity Link Road sign up to our newsletter via the footer of our website. Click here to see the progress on the Link Road.
All efforts continue to open the Woolavington Road on time
The Link Road construction has been deemed ‘Critical Infrastructure’ by the local government. Gravity and all its contractors have put extra safety measures in place to protect their workers and we are reviewing the challenges presented by this rapidly evolving situation on a constant basis. On-site workers are adhering to Government guidelines and are working at a safe distance from each other.
A Gravity spokesperson said: “Our priorities from the start have been to protect our people while maintaining reduced levels of operations. It has been a great team effort led by Alun Griffiths to expedite the opening of the Woolavington Road despite the present challenging circumstances. This much-needed road will greatly benefit the local community, giving direct access to the Woolavington GP surgery.”
Gravity is in dialogue with the government and will continue to act on the guidance it provides.
Firstly, I hope you, your family and colleagues are all healthy as we adjust to this new challenge set upon us. In many respects, for the Gravity team, it is business as ‘usual’ as we continue to deliver our world-leading smart campus from our respective homes during these trying times.
All of us here at Gravity are most concerned for the safety and well-being of our families, colleagues, customers, partners, and the many friends who make up Gravity’s vibrant family, which is why we have put the following measures in place.
Working Remotely: With many already used to working flexibly, this shift has fortunately been relatively smooth, and we believe should have little impact on our ability to deliver.
We’re also asking our teams and clients to work through digital channels as much as possible. This includes our events, which we are either postponing or transforming into virtual events. This is also an area where we are currently developing and providing new solutions for online events: both our own and our partners.
Meetings with our consultant team and partners will continue virtually to maintain momentum and to continue to make progress over this period. We will be using the time to make progress discharging site-wide planning conditions and developing our approach to achieving our ambitions. • Safety On-Site: Employees who must be on-site are applying social distancing and hygiene protocols based on guidance from health authorities.
Link Road completion: The government has deemed this work ‘Critical Infrastructure’, and as such it is still going ahead. We are pleased to be able to support this as it does provide a vital link for our communities and are doing everything we can to help these works proceed in a safe and controlled manner. You can read more here.
Meals for high risk: Gravity is working alongside Puriton & Woolavington Parish Councils to provide hot meals to the 60-80 individuals who are the most vulnerable and isolated in the local community. I would personally like to extend my gratitude to the volunteers that are preparing and delivering this much needed hot meal service.
Thank you for your own going support, we are all in this together. MartinBellamy, Chairman
In the news
Gravity Chairman, Martin Bellamy discusses regional investment with the BBC
Gravity Chairman, MartinBellamy, spoke with BBC political correspondent Alex Forsyth about the need for greater regional investment from Government, enabling the South West’s infrastructure and mobility offering to develop in line with the rest of the UK. Gravity is proud to represent the SouthWest ambition to change the UK economy into a clean one. The interview aired on BBC 10 O’clock news on March 1st.
Despite the wettest February on record, the construction of the Link Road is on track. The majority of the road has been surfaced; the focus of construction has shifted to the three roundabouts between the A39 and the entrance at Gravity. We have attained permission from Somerset county council to work on weekends to ensure that the Woolavington Road will reopen by Easter.
To stay up to date with progress on the link road, visit the Alun Griffiths community pageor join us for one of the regular community drop-in sessions held at The 37 club.
On Wednesday, 11th March, Gravity and Stantec hosted the Public Consultation for the proposed village enhancement scheme for Puriton and Woolavington. The recent event which outlined proposed plans for a foot and cycle path between the villages along with other improvements was met with a generally positive response from residents. A resident described the event as a “very informative afternoon”. Continued developments of the scheme can be found on our community page.
Link Road Community Drop in
Gravity and Alun Griffiths are continuing to co-host the link road community drop-ins. This gives residents a chance to meet the team and see the progress of the link road in person. The last drop-in that was held at the 37 Club on Wednesday 11th February was well attended by residents and local businesses.
Movers and Shakers – “How does the real estate marketplace deliver change?”
Gravity Chairman, Martin Bellamy, delivered a keynote speech at a Movers & Shakers event in Bristol. He outlined how Gravity will look beyond office space and ensure that the working environments created are rooted in the wellbeing of the people that will use the site.
As we enter the final weeks of the year, this moment offers a unique
opportunity to reflect on Gravity’s journey to becoming the UK’s leading Smart
Gravity is anything but ordinary. By its very nature, it explores the
‘Art of the Possible.’ Already considered to be the UK’s flagship on the
interplay between the technology and the physical campus estate, it will lead
the way in transforming the South West into a Clean Growth Economy. That means
new challenges, new businesses, new opportunities.
In the two years since its inception, many significant milestones have
been achieved. Gravity has been developing at speed, the Link road is on
schedule, the architectural plans are in full swing, and some exciting
companies are looking to Gravity to call home.
Those who have heard me speak lately, will know the Clean Energy is a
driving force for Gravity. We welcomed the news in September that the Climate
Minister promised a much needed major revamp of the 2017 Clean Growth Strategy
that set out how the UK planned to meet the government’s new 2050 net-zero
emission target. But are their actions enough? This month saw the news that
climate change could be irreversible by 2030 as we are using more of the
earth’s resources than it can renew. If we carry on using the earth’s resources
at our current rate of consumption, we’d need 1.7 planets to support the demand
on the earth’s ecosystems. I find this
incredibly worrying, and even more so, there is a call to arms for industries
to protect our planet and move to zero emissions.
As we move into 2020, the demand for lowing admissions presents a unique
opportunity to use clean technology at Gravity to achieve economic growth and
sustainable development for Somerset and the South West. The immediate
challenge for us and for all stakeholders along the Gravity value chain is to
react fast enough to the change in consumers, technology, and the climate. As we harness these changes, we believe we
can help The South West to better serve the needs of society and the environment.
Having broken ground on the site-unlocking access road in 2019, we envisage that 2020 will be the year that Gravity becomes the latest edition to the UK’s megaproject map. Whatever the outcome for Thursday, Gravity will continue to drive partnerships between government, academia, private sector & the community.
I hope you have a merry festive season and I look forward to updating
you in the New Year on more of Gravity’s advancements that will benefit the
Martin Bellamy, Gravity Chairman
Rail Connectivity at Gravity
Tom Curtis – Co-CEO
Pioneering new approaches to sustainable transport are a critical element for all developments, but nowhere more so than at Gravity. Our vision ensures that the majority of freight and passengers will be brought to and from our site by rail. With the major transport links of Bristol deep sea port and the cities of Exeter and Bristol, all within a 45- minute rail journey of the site, our reliance on road transport is significantly reduced. We have therefore commissioned Network Rail to carry out a full feasibility and design project to assess the deliverability of both freight and passenger terminals on-site, connecting Gravity directly to the mainline. Having rail infrastructure will hugely increase the speed of take-up of space on the site and most importantly, will also broaden the range of occupiers who will be attracted to the site given its national reach. We welcome the support of the HotSW LEP and other partners in working with us to explore this potential.
On time, on track
Paul Lowndes – Programme Director
Gravity reached a milestone in the Summer with the commencement of the Link Road, a 12-month project to connect the site directly to the M5 at junction 23.
We are on track to start construction on site by Summer 2020. The Puriton Junior School noise and pollution monitoring programme remains ongoing and we are delighted with low impact scores to date. We are incredibly proud to be the first real estate private company to receive Growth Deal funding for transport infrastructure by the Heart of the South West LEP Growth Deal Fund.
Our aspirations are to maximise the use of local labour and local businesses, both from the immediate area and the Great South West. We continue to work with local colleagues and universities to build capacity and capability, and to ensure new occupier needs can be met.
Open for business
Gareth John – Senior Business Advisor
As an international inward investment destination, Gravity is now “open for business”. We are working with investors, the board, and through our real estate networks to communicate the Gravity site and its potential to host a new era of clean industrial growth. We are collaborating with the DIT and BEIS to help position the site to national and global investors in Clean Growth sectors and will be enthusiastic about informing trade missions and receiving international visitors to the South West. We will continue to work across the Local, Regional and National Government bodies to identify opportunities to host occupiers and target investment to enable delivery.
Flagship for the Southwest
Claire Pearce – Director – Planning and Economic Development
To realise our ambitions and achieve success, Gravity will be evolving a strategy to implement the planning consent and emerging vision, striving to make improvements to the approach to secure Clean Growth.
We are delighted with the progress on the Sedgemoor Transport Investment Strategy, funded by Gravity through our section 106 obligations, establishing clear priorities for investment until 2050.
Gravity is a ‘game-changer’ in terms of place-shaping and economic development and we are excited about the prospects ahead for new investors and occupiers to diversify and add value to the wider Sedgemoor and Somerset economies.
The team have made a clear statement of intent to host and pioneer sustainable transport, specifically in a rural context, through a Sustainable Mobility Research and Innovation Centre, partnering with institutions across the South West on a European funding bid to integrate academic input to the sites transport operations. We are very excited about partnering with the University of the West of England and linking into the Connecting Places Catapult and working with Innovate UK on the future of transport in the South West.
We are committed to ensuring that Gravity will be at the leading edge of sustainable transport providing walking, cycling and public transport options.
Gravity recognises that local businesses are the backbone of our
economy and are fully committed to the creation of meaningful opportunities for
those businesses so to support the strength and sustainability of the local
economy. As our smart campus progresses, new
opportunities will present themselves to local and regional businesses.
Gravity has continued to receive huge support from the local business community. This support was evident at the latest Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce event ‘Supply the Supplier’. Where our Programme Director, Paul Lowndes, spoke about the vision for the site and the opportunities for future partnerships with local businesses.
Let’s face it, no look is really complete without the right finishes. Not to the best of standards, anyway (just tellin’ it like it is, babe). Upgrading your shoe game. Platforms, stilettos, wedges, mules, boots—stretch those legs next time you head out, then rock sliders, sneakers, and flats when it’s time to chill.