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Somer Valley Enterprise Zone: first public engagement

Local residents: what this means for you

Together with planned improvements in the town centre, the Somer Valley Enterprise Zone (SVEZ) will play a major role in revitalising the Somer Valley as a place for local people, business, and visitors.

Employment opportunities

We expect that, once it is up and running, SVEZ will bring around 1,300 new local jobs to the area, covering a range of sectors that may include:

  • specialist construction
  • construction
  • manufacturing and general sales
  • land transport
  • printing
  • warehousing and distribution

It is likely that a range of roles will be provided including:

  • management
  • professional
  • associate professional/technical
  • office and administration
  • skilled trades
  • customer service and sales
  • process
  • elementary

The plans for the zone specify a mix of uses, with the aim of generating jobs across the wide range of skills and experience held by the local population.

It is estimated that 28% of the roles provided will involve higher skills, with a further 48% of positions being skilled roles.

An attractive destination

We are proposing to create a ‘business park in a park’, with careful planning to enhance the site as an environment for work and leisure. We plan to add a number of attractive features to the site:

  • significant landscaping
  • hundreds of new trees
  • ponds and water attenuation (such as balancing ponds, which help to manage storm water, and reduce the risk of flooding on-site)
  • high-quality building design
  • enhanced public rights of way through the site
  • increased biodiversity on the site

As well as industrial and office uses, the commercial mix could include ancilliary leisure uses such as a hotel, and food and beverage provision.

Sensitive and sustainable construction

Development at the SVEZ site will be compliant with ambitious emerging local Planning policy requirements for sustainability in new developments:

  • It will be a net zero carbon development
  • We will demonstrate how we will improve the current biodiversity (by a minimum of 10%), with measures on-site and nearby. We propose to do this by retaining hedgerows and grasslands where possible , and adding new natural features including tree planting and ponds. We will also look to improve biodiversity off-site, as required.
  • We are currently commissioning expert studies to assess whether there will be any potential impacts on the local area. These include the following:
    • views and the landscape
    • effects on air quality and noise levels
    • ecological impacts
    • the archaeology and local historic environment
    We will include measures to address any impacts (both during construction and once the development is complete and operational) in our development proposals.

Travel and transport

The wider context

Our overall objective is to enable sustainable travel. While the new jobs at SVEZ will reduce the need for local people to commute out of the Somer Valley to work, it is important to ensure the site has suitable access. We are assessing local transport improvements, to be delivered alongside the scheme, and modelling the impact that the proposed development will have on the highway usage. Although we are still in discussions with the Highway Development Management team, and plans are not yet fixed, the improvements could include the following:

Active travel

  • upgrading walking routes and a new cycle track along the A362 between the SVEZ and the Norton Radstock Greenway
  • new pedestrian and cyclist crossings on the A362
  • a network of walking and cycling routes in the site, connecting with local roads and public rights of way

Public transport

  • upgrading bus stops on the A362, including shelters and real-time information, serving buses towards Paulton and Bath
  • improving walking and cycling connections to the bus stop outside Tesco, serving buses towards Bristol and Radstock

Road network

  • diversion of the A362 at Old Mills to remove the sharp bends next to Langley’s Lane
  • widening of the A362 at 'Sunnyside' to remove the pinch point where vehicles can't pass, whilst retaining on-street parking for residents
  • regularising the speed limits on the A362 through Farrington Gurney
  • possible improvements to the A37 / A362 traffic signals at Farrington Gurney
  • possible changes to the A362 / B3355 Thicket Mead roundabout

See the highways issues section of our Project Overview for more detailed information on our work so far.

Within the site

We are proposing to prioritise more sustainable forms of transport (such as walking and cycling) on-site and the site’s Travel Plan will include various measures to enable sustainable travel. We are designing the site to make it easy to access by walking and cycling, with plenty of cycle parking provided, in accordance with the local parking standards. There will also be provision for electric vehicle parking and charging, and the streets within the site will include provision for walking and cycling.
We understand that there will remain the need for some people to travel to the site by car. To accommodate these needs, we have calculated the required amount of car parking for each land use. We will refine the size of this provision, as potential occupiers become known.