Council planning next steps for energy park

Sedgemoor District Council has announced it is wasting no time in planning the next steps for a new energy park.

The Huntspill Energy Park at Puriton’s bid for Enterprise Zone state was the largest nationally to make it into the Chancellor's Autumn Statement last month.

In a statement, Sedgemoor District Council said it is now working with the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) and the other local authorities responsible for the multi-site bid to take the project on further.

The focus in the next few weeks for the Puriton site will be on ensuring that everything is in place to assist with the re-development of the former Royal Ordnance Factory, now owned by BAE Systems, including the necessary infrastructure improvements, planning processes and prospectuses.

"Building on our manufacturing past, our innovation and our close association with Hinkley Point over the decades, this status as an Enterprise Zone will give us the boost we need to capitalise on our clear ability to respond to this Country's energy needs now and in the future,” said council leader, Cllr Duncan McGinty.

Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, Cllr Anne Fraser added that Enterprise Zone would help with the determination to keep as much of the supply chain for the construction for Hinkley Point C as local as possible and was an excellent fit with the strategic growth plans for the district and the LEP.

"The fact that the LEP will be able to keep 100% of the growth in business rates over 25 years which can be re-invested in related infrastructure and other developments is extremely good news," she said. "We are looking forward to working with the developer on the detailed plans to realise the full potential of the site"

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government and energy issues