Partners discuss Bridgwater’s role in attracting Gravity investors
The positive impact of Gravity on projects to regenerate areas of Bridgwater and improve local transport infrastructure were among the key topics discussed at the project’s latest Delivery Group meeting on 15 July.
The group, which includes local and national partners, has been set up to facilitate the delivery of Gravity as an Enterprise Zone and the UK’s first smart campus and community. The group is meeting monthly as Gravity progresses with fresh plans to create over 4,000 jobs and attract international investment into the UK at the site in Sedgemoor between the villages of Puriton and Woolavington.
Bridgwater’s role in attracting high-value occupiers
Stuart Houlet, Assistant Director of Inward Investment and Growth for Sedgemoor District Council, started the session with a presentation about plans to regenerate areas of Bridgwater, which were given a boost by the town’s recent award of £22m from the government’s Town Fund. Projects to enhance the town include restoration of the historic docks area; the creation of a pedestrianised ‘Celebration Mile’ (stretching from the docks to railway station); a new Town Centre Park; and a 7-screen cinema.
Mike O’Dowd-Jones, Strategic Commissioner for Highways and Transport Services at Somerset County Council, explained how ‘levelling up’ funds could help fund projects to improve stretches of the A38 to improve Bridgwater’s connectivity with the surrounding areas.
The group went on to discuss the importance of these improvements to the local area in attracting investors to Gravity. Claire Pearce, Director of Planning and Economic Development at Gravity, underlined the project’s connection with Bridgwater and Gravity’s role in economic transformation of the locality, and support for a multi-modal transport strategy to link Gravity to the wider area.
Gravity’s community consultation
With Gravity’s community consultation now concluded, Ben Lowndes, Managing Director (South West) at Social – the project’s engagement consultant – gave an overview of the engagement activities carried out, including five public webinars, two in-person events, and monthly community newsletters.
Finally, Sam Harper, Senior Associate Planner at Stantec, gave updates on Gravity’s transport and environmental strategies.
You can download the slides that were shared at the last Delivery Group meeting.