Two years on from the historic signing of the agreement for the UK’s first new nuclear power station for a generation, the long-term business benefits of Hinkley Point C in Somerset are already apparent according to a commercial property expert.
The signing ceremony of the Hinkley Point C contract took place on 29 September 2016, and today over 3,000 contractors are working on site each day, and when activity at the biggest construction project in Western Europe reaches its peak in 18 months’ time some 5,600 workers will be on site. It has been estimated that the 10-year project by energy supplier EDF to build the £20 billion, twin-reactor power station will create 25,000 employment opportunities.
However, Tim Davies, head of the South West office of Colliers International, has pointed out that while the scale of work at Hinkley Point C is presently the focus of attention, arguably of greater long-term significance is the way in which Hinkley Point C is serving as a catalyst for new business opportunities in the nearby town of Bridgwater.
“Investment already provided by energy supplier EDF to Bridgwater and the wider Somerset area as part of its development of Hinkley Point C includes £50 million towards the development of new facilities at Bridgwater College in both Bridgwater and Cannington, including the College’s Advanced Engineering Centre, the redevelopment of Cannington Court and the New National Nuclear College.
“This is all part of providing a legacy beyond what is presently happening at Hinkley Point C to help to secure the long-term economy of Bridgwater, and it is part of the reason why the £150 million Bridgwater Gateway business park is being developed at Junction 24 of the M5.
“Top quality facilities are needed in order to attract top quality companies, and the prime industrial space and Grade A offices available at Bridgwater Gateway will attract new types of businesses to the town.”
Phil Wade, development manager at Bridgwater Gateway, added: “We’re presently involved in discussions with a diverse range of potential occupiers, of which some are directly involved with HPC while others have been attracted to Bridgwater for different reasons.”
Work began earlier this month on a new Premier Inn at Bridgwater Gateway, which is being marketed by Colliers International. Full infrastructure is now in place on the 100-acre site, which will feature a range of prime industrial buildings and Grade A office buildings, plus two hotels, in a landscaped setting.