North Somerset Council set to lease the building to Costain Ltd
A multi-million pound office development in Weston Gateway Business Park, Weston-super-Mare has been given the green light by North Somerset Council.
At a full council meeting on Tuesday, May 8, members were asked to give the go-ahead to invest £6 million to purchase the land and then develop Enterprise House – a 20,000ft² office building within Junction 21 Enterprise Area, Worle close to M5 junction.
A report to the council said: “With support from colleagues across the council and West of England partners, North Somerset Economic Development Service has worked over the last 18 months initially to retain this high value employer.
“During 2017 this evolved to allow the company’s proposed long-term growth in North Somerset, specifically Junction 21 Enterprise Area.”
The report also said Dowlas, the developers of the Weston Gateway Business Park, had been unable to attract scheme funding for the project which is why the council has decided to intervene and purchase the land and take on the development.
Speaking during last night’s meeting Cllr Elfan App Rees, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for strategic planning, highways and economic development, called the project a “good news story” for the council.
He said: “It’s different from things we have done before as it will see the council take on a commercial project and in particular it brings Costain into Weston-super-Mare.
A five year lease between Costain and the council has been agreed, but Cllr Ap Rees said he believed once Costain moved into Enterprise House the company would be “there for the long term”.
He told the meeting the firm was already in the process of creating a brand new technology facility in the adjacent industrial units to Enterprise House and they are expected to be completed next month.
During the meeting members were told the council had put money aside for the project over the past couple of years but development on the site continued to be stalled.
Council leader Nigel Ashton said by having a “reputable company” such as Costain on board it had allowed the council to get on with the project.
He added: “We have been looking at this site near junction 21 of the M5 for many, many years hoping to get it developed. And now we have got the opportunity here to actually get on with Enterprise House and get this site developed.
“We haven’t bought the land at an inflated price and we have got some money set aside to actually develop the site knowing that we have a reputable company, Costain, already signed up.”
He also said there could be an opportunity to sell the site later and replace the funding so the council could could take on another project as part of its regeneration programme.
Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Bell also spoke in support of the project. “Is it a sign that we do have an appetite to take an active role in the local market and try and attract employers to North Somerset,” he said.
“If we do decide to take a more active role in the market, stimulate things and really bring investment into the district then I think that’s really positive and will in the long run be really beneficial to the local community.”
The authority will now enter into a Design and Build contract with Dowlas to deliver the office development for the council.
According to the report the £6 million funding will be sourced through a designated regeneration capital allocation and external borrowing.
The full council report can be found at the top of this article.