Flagship food and drink centre gets the go-ahead

Flagship food and drink centre gets the go-ahead

A regional food and drink development centre on the outskirts of Weston-super-Mare has moved a step nearer. Planning permission for phase one of FoodWorksSW at the heart of the Junction 21 Enterprise Area was granted today (Wednesday 12 July) by North Somerset Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee.

“FoodWorksSW will provide a regional centre of excellence for food and drink manufacturers to help new businesses get started and established producers to innovate and grow,” said Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, the council’s deputy leader and executive member for economic development.

“Situated within the DEFRA designated Food Enterprise Zone, it will create around 250 jobs as part of our employment-led regeneration of the Weston area.”

Earlier this year the council successfully bid for £9.36m Local Growth Deal funding from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership to help fund the £11.3m first phase of FoodWorksSW on five acres of land within the Weston Business Quarter.

The report to the Planning and Regulatory Committee says the development will include “two attractive and characterful buildings with recognisable landmark features such as the yellow freestanding gable frames”.

One of the buildings will provide:

• product development and piloting space providing up-to-date commercial grade equipment for food and drink product research and development

• exhibition, training and workshop space

• a variety of meeting rooms

• a café/informal meeting area.

The other building will include 12 food grade business units of between 60 and 100sqm targeted at start-up and growing businesses across the South West. More larger business units will be provided as part of phase two of the project.

“Occupation of these units is designed to be short or medium term and users will be encouraged to move on to larger more permanent accommodation once their product becomes established,” says the report.

The report concludes: “These proposals will deliver the first phase of a high quality regional food and drink enterprise zone that will encourage the development of new technologies and businesses, creating jobs and wealth for the whole district and beyond.”

Building work on FoodWorksSW is expected to start in the autumn with an anticipated opening at the end of 2018 / early 2019. Business enquiries about FoodWorksSW or the Junction 21 Enterprise Area should be directed to the council’s economic development team on 01934 426 266 or email business@n-somerset.gov.uk.