North Somerset’s hotels and hospitality sector will be among the first to benefit following the Government’s decision to press ahead with Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
According to sector experts from Colliers International the deal announced with energy giant EDF will result in a surge in demand for both permanent and temporary living accommodation once the multi-billion pound construction programme gets underway.
Hotels Director Simon Wells said the news would trigger a new raft of development in an area which had struggled to attract significant inward investment in recent years.
He said: “Bridgwater has been seen as something of a poor relation and now it will have a chance to thrive. There is a wide sense of relief among local hoteliers, leisure park owners and guest house operators that Hinkley Point C will finally go ahead.”
Simon Wells believes work on the nuclear power station could provide a catalyst for residential, business and leisure development with opportunities to deliver long-term benefits far beyond the construction period.
“There will be a massive ripple effect across the Somerset economy and we anticipate a surge in demand for planning and commercial property advice from local businesses, operators and landowners once the construction programme gets underway. Clearly now is the time to invest.”
The property consultancy has taken a stand at the Sedgemoor Economic Growth Showcase to be held at the South West Energy Skills Centre, Bridgwater College on November 13 to handle the anticipated surge in interest.
Simon said: “Hinkley C will unlock development opportunities not just in Bridgwater but across the South West. There are obvious implications for businesses providing temporary accommodation who might need additional space through the construction phase.
“Similarly, leisure parks and caravan parks might be looking at extending their accommodation to cope with demand.”
“We decided to take a stand at next month’s economic growth showcase to give local businesses advice and support on maximizing the opportunities the construction programme will present.”
The multi-disciplinary team will be there to assist property owners, developers, and holiday park operators navigate the planning system.
Colliers International Planning and heritage specialist James said: “In the last year we successfully obtained planning permission for a large 80 bed premium hotel in the centre of Bridgwater which shows just how much faith developers and investors have in the area.
“There are likely to be many additional knock-on effects following this important news. Sedgemoor District Council has been firmly behind this proposal from the outset and this desire to stimulate growth should be seen as a massive thumbs up for Sedgemoor proving the area is well and truly open for business.”
Town planning associate Marcus Plaw added: “We also anticipate local demand for warehouses and storage facilities as well as an immediate uplift in the hospitality sector.
“Demand for worker accommodation should stimulate homebuilding along whilst the increase in the local population in the side catchment should stimulate the retail and evening economy. Investors, landowners and developers should be engaging with the planning process to identify opportunities and engage with their advisors and with local authorities.”
“It is understandable the local councils will have a wider vision beyond the construction of a power station. In Sedgemoor district there is an opportunity to build on the successes of late and support further new regeneration schemes in and around Bridgwater that will raise the profile of the area.”
The two new generating units proposed by EDF Energy at Hinkley Point C will be capable of supplying enough electricity for around five million homes and provide around 5,600 jobs on-site and more in the supply chain. Once operational, the power station would support around 900 permanent jobs on site as well as more jobs across the West.