Partners discuss Gravity’s plans to deliver a smart campus and community
Gravity’s aim to deliver a smart campus and community that integrates workspace, homes, leisure and green space was among the key topics discussed at the project’s latest Delivery Group meeting on 25 May.
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 4,000 jobs and attract international investment into the UK at the site between the villages of Puriton and Woolavington.
Creating pathways for local people to access opportunities
The meeting was kicked off with a presentation by Matt Tudor, Director of Commercial Development, Strategy & Partnership at Bridgwater and Taunton College (BTC). Matt explained how BTC is working in partnership with Gravity to create pathways for the local community to access the new opportunities created by Gravity.
Matt talked about the need to ‘upskill’ adults and prepare post 16-year olds for a digital and greener future, creating a ‘pipeline of talent’ for potential occupiers. BTC’s role in facilitating partnerships between Gravity and other educational organisations, including universities, was also covered.
Delivering an integrated campus to attract high-value occupiers
Focusing on Sedgemoor, Stuart Houlet, Assistant Director of Inward Investment and Growth for Sedgemoor District Council, discussed the potential for Gravity to help transform the local economy by creating high-value, knowledge-based jobs. Stuart said that the smart, integrated campus offer would be key to attracting the high-value occupiers that will create these jobs. He also highlighted the need to create jobs with integrated leisure opportunities and homes, helping to reduce the need to travel.
David Warburton, Land Director at House by Urban Splash, went on to give a presentation about how the housebuilder creates characterful and sustainable neighbourhoods, using innovative designs and low-carbon Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). Urban Splash has recently joined the Delivery Group in an advisory capacity as an industry leader in the built environment with a track record of delivering innovative places.
Frazer Osment, Chair of LDA Design, discussed the role leisure amenities and homes will play in creating a unique place to attract high-value occupiers, which place a premium on their workforce’s health and wellbeing.
Emerging proposals for Gravity
Sam Harper, Senior Associate Planner at Stantec, gave updates on Gravity’s emerging transport, environment and utilities strategies as the team prepares the Local Delivery Order (LDO) proposal for Sedgemoor District Council’s consideration.
Other matters discussed at the session included parameter plans and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, as well as an updated description of the project (from a planning point of view) and proposed land uses.
Events: have your say about Gravity
A community webinar was held on the topic of creating a smart community on 26 May. The fourth in a series of webinars to explain Gravity’s ambitions to deliver community benefits and drive the UK’s economy towards a zero-carbon future.
You can download the slides that were shared at the last Delivery Group meeting.