Technology firm to leave village for £6m council-built offices near M5

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 May 2018

The Knightstone Housing offices at Weston Gateway Business Park.

The Knightstone Housing offices at Weston Gateway Business Park.

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A large employer in North Somerset is likely to move from its home in Yatton.

The Super Mare Pub at the Weston Gateway enterprise area. Picture sent in to iwitness24 by Sally Griffiths. The Super Mare Pub at the Weston Gateway enterprise area. Picture sent in to iwitness24 by Sally Griffiths.

North Somerset Council has agreed to a £6million deal to buy land at Weston Gateway Business Park, near the M5 junction, and build offices there.

It made the decision after Yatton-based technology firm Costain signalled its willingness to move to the offices so it could expand its business.

Councillor Jill Iles, who represents Yatton, said: “I think it’s great news for Weston, and if they are expanding, it is good news for North Somerset.

“We don’t want to lose employment in the village, but from an expansion point of view, it is good it is doing well. We have good facilities in Yatton, so I feel there is an opportunity for new employment here.”

The council agreed to take on a 15-year lease for office space at the business park in 2015.

However, Dowlas, which is responsible for the construction of the enterprise area, was not able to find a firm willing to lease the building, which would be called Enterprise House, and the project stalled.

When Costain signalled it was willing to move to Enterprise House, the council decided to buy the land to ensure it would go ahead. It has asked Dowlas to build the offices and the council will receive the rental income from Costain.

Council leader Nigel Ashton said: “This is part of the regeneration programme.

“We have been looking at this site at Junction 21 for many years to get it developed, but there has been no money to develop it so it has stalled.”

Cllr Ashton said the land has not been bought for an inflated price and he believes Costain to be ‘fully committed’ to Enterprise House.

The move would move 120 jobs to Weston, and the business is expected to expand to 350 staff members over the next three to four years.

Council papers say safeguarding 160 jobs in the manufacturing sector would benefit the region’s economy to the tune of £19.2million, rising to £42million with 350 jobs.

The council says it will aim to keep the costs below £6million, but admits there is a risk of going over budget. It says securing a fixed-price build contract from Dowlas and the pre-let lease from Costain will mitigate the risk.

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