Gravity hosts first community webinar

Over 80 people attended Gravity’s first community webinar, held on 26 January 2021, to find out more about the project to create the UK’s first smart campus and community.

Entitled ‘Gravity: what’s next?’, the virtual event marks the start of an extensive process of engagement and consultation that will ensure what is proposed creates benefits for the local area and its communities. 

Speakers outlined the scheme, which is based on the site of the former Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF) between Puriton and Woolavington, and explained how it will be brought forward.

The session started with a presentation by Stuart Houlet, Assistant Director for Inward Investment and Growth at Sedgemoor District Council, about the site’s planning history and the need to adapt plans approved in 2017. Stuart discussed how an updated proposal for a ‘clean and inclusive’ Gravity was taking shape in in the context of the Somerset’s Climate Emergency Strategy and its green recovery and economic transformation goals.

Claire Pearce, Director of Planning and Economic Development at Gravity, set out the vision for Gravity with a focus on the project’s commitment to inclusive growth. Claire explained how Gravity will kick-start a new era of high-value employment in the area by attracting investment and new businesses. Claire also highlighted Gravity’s aim to work with schools and colleges to re-connect youngsters to education and work and create new training opportunities for people of all ages.

Jane Hirst, Director at Stantec, talked about the next steps in the planning process for Gravity and how the team’s improved proposals for Gravity will be set out. Finally, Social, Gravity’s public engagement consultant, detailed what to expect from the engagement programme and how people can get in touch with Gravity and share their views about the project to help shape the proposals.

The Gravity team presentation was followed by a question and answer session which saw a range of topics discussed, including; progress of the link road improving access to Gravity; the plan for a new cycle and pedestrian path between Puriton and Woolavington; job creation, post-16 education opportunities related to Gravity; and the scheme’s commitment to low carbon growth.

‘Gravity: what’s next?’ was the first in a series of virtual public events about Gravity to be held throughout 2021.  Members of the public are invited to stay up to date by signing-up for Gravity’s e-newsletter by contacting or calling 0330 1070 535.

  • The webinar is available in full as a recording, please click here.

Please click here for a document containing all questions asked by attendees at the webinar and our responses to those questions. Due to the number of questions received we were unable to answer every question on the night.

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