Since Gravity’s soft launch at the end of November last year, we’ve focused on moving the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) process along to secure the rights to acquire land, implement the new link road, and ensure development on site starts in a timely manner. This is critical in order to realise the wider public benefits of the scheme.
In line with our vision to deliver a sustainable, intelligent, connected and immersive mixed-use campus, that will be home to the world’s most innovative companies, Gravity is sponsoring the Innovative Business Award at the Sedgemoor Business Awards. We are looking forward to presenting this award later this month. In addition, we welcomed the news of Somerset County Council committing to address the climate change emergency consolidating our clean growth mission to wider regional goals.
As a local resident and/or someone interested in the development, we are sending you this newsletter to keep you informed of progress and activities on site. We aim to establish a welcoming and engaging dialogue with communities and hope that our investment plans will be inclusive and create opportunities for local businesses and people.
Project & Construction Update
The CPO process for land required for the access road is well underway. Having commenced the process on the 2nd October 2018, we expect the Secretary of State to confirm the CPO by Summer 2019 to allow construction of the link road to commence. Given this timing, Gravity has worked hard to prepare for this and has recently completed the removal of hedgerows on the land identified for the link road in advance of the bird nesting season.
Gravity has also short-listed four contractors to tender for the link road build. It is anticipated that the link road will be complete by Autumn 2020 with landscaping complete by the end of 2020. This will allow the site to officially launch from Autumn 2020.
The new road will be partially funded by a £3.94m grant from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and we are delighted to be working with the LEP on this exciting project.
We will keep communities informed of progress and traffic management prior to the start of construction via the Woolavington and Puriton Parish Councils.
Remediation works are ongoing and are forecast to complete on time at the end of 2019.
Sponsoring the Innovative Business Award
We are delighted to sponsor the Innovative Business Award at this year’s Sedgemoor Business Excellence Awards. As a business, we recognise the importance of being innovative in a complex world. It is critical to embrace the digital era and new technologies whilst catering for changing demands from the workforce. Innovation is core to driving individual business growth and performance and supports the growth of the UK economy. We look forward to presenting the award and hearing about the exciting achievements within Sedgemoor from all companies partaking in the awards.
Our Clean Growth foundation
We welcomed last month’s news of Somerset County Council’s commitment to address the climate change emergency. The site’s Clean Growth foundation is an underlying part of Gravity’s vision focused on supporting the future economic growth of the UK in an environmentally sustainable way. As such Gravity’s occupier base will consist of those from low carbon manufacturing, electric vehicles, robotics and AI, energy generation, R&D and associated activities such as data centres and assembly and distribution. A pan-sector cluster will encourage business to collaboratively disrupt, challenge, inspire and innovate for a more sustainable future. Gravity looks forward to being able to support and collaborate with the wider region on such an important national and global challenge.
Community Heritage Project
Gravity plans to work with Somerset Heritage Trust and Sedgemoor District Council to develop a community project to capture the industrial heritage of the site and its former use. As we continue our preparations for the future uses of the site, it is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the personal stories and memories of the Royal Ordnance Factory. As part of this project, we will organise a calendar of events in the 37 Club to meet residents to hear about their family histories and capture their stories on film. We will also be seeking old photographs and artefacts from the factory to help bring those stories to life.