Two business-boosting enterprise centres for Somerset have taken a great leap forward with work now underway at the sites in Wells and Wiveliscombe.
Units have been craned onto the old Karro Food Group site at Sandys Moor in Wiveliscombe and will form part of the new, purpose-built centre which will offer ten offices, two meeting rooms and seven industrial units.
At the same time, work has started on the centre in Cathedral Park, Wells. It will offer two larger offices, ten smaller offices and two meeting rooms as well as five 50 square metre industrial units.
The aim is for both centres – which are each costing in the region of £2m – to be open next Spring, bringing the total number of centres in the Somerset network up to seven. Enterprise centres provide modern, accessible space for small and growing businesses – something that can be hard to find in rural areas.
They offer flexible tenancies, superfast broadband, business networking, access to business support and competitive rents.
Both projects are being built by the Kier construction group, jointly funded by the County Council, the European Regional Development Fund and the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and Somerset.
Councillor David Hall, Cabinet member for Economy and Inward Investment, said: “Small and medium-sized businesses are the heartbeat of Somerset’s economy and a thriving economy, jobs and prosperity are critical to its long-term future.
“Investment like this will improve lives in our communities and I’m delighted to see these centres moving forward, thanks to the funding we’ve been able to provide and that which we’ve helped ‘lever in’ from elsewhere.”
Somerset already has centres in Highbridge, Dulverton, Frome, Wheddon Cross and Minehead. They are operated on behalf of the County Council by TDA.
Steve Hindley CBE DL, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “I’m delighted to see work beginning on the new Enterprise Centres which have been partly funded by our Growth Deal with Government.
“By providing small businesses with access to flexible, high tech workspaces and a range of business services, Enterprise Centres deliver a significant boost to the local economy. Supporting these businesses promotes opportunities for growth and development and will increase employment opportunities within the area.”
Minister for Local Growth, the Rt Hon Jake Berry MP added: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth and driving prosperity across the UK so I’m delighted to see work start on the Enterprise Centre at Wiveliscombe, supported by £510,000 of Local Growth Fund investment.
“The Centre will deliver modern, accessible industrial and office work space and will benefit the community by attracting investment, increasing employment opportunities and providing the improved connectivity which is so vital in our digital economy.”