New food development centre to create 250 jobs

A £11.3M food and drink development centre has received planning permission in Somerset

Plans for a new £11.3M food and drink development centre in Somerset that would create up to 250 jobs have been given the go ahead, after receiving planning permission from the local council.

The development, named FoodWorksSW, followed a successful bid by North Somerset Council for £9.36M of funding from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.

Phase one of the development will include the construction of two buildings within the Weston Business quarter, on the outskirts of Weston-super-Mare, for use by food and drink manufacturers.

The first building features 12 food-grade business units of between 60m2 and 100m2, targeted at start-up and growing businesses across the south west. Larger business units will be provided as part of phase two of the project.

Start-up and growing businesses

Occupation of the units is designed to be short or medium-term and users will be encouraged to move on to larger, more permanent accommodation once their products become established, according to North Somerset Council’s report.

The report added: “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.”

The second building will provide manufacturers with space for product development and will feature commercial grade equipment for food and drink product research.

It will also include meeting rooms, and exhibition, training and workshop space and a café and an informal meeting area.

‘Help new businesses get started’

Commenting on the proposal, North Somerset Council’s deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees said: “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.

“Situated within the DEFRA [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] designated Food Enterprise Zone, it will create around 250 jobs as part of our employment-led regeneration of the Weston area.”

Building work on FoodWorksSW is expected to start in the autumn, with an anticipated opening at the end of 2018 / early 2019.

Meanwhile, alcoholic beverage manufacturer Konings is to submit plans for a £35M expansion of its factory in Boxford, Suffolk, which will create up to 116 new jobs.

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