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January 2015


Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone update
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles visited the BTQZ recently to mark the opening of the new £40million 2 Glasswharf development.  The Enterprise Zone is one of the largest urban regeneration projects in the UK with at least 1.8million square feet of new office and industrial space being rolled out by 2018.  Colin Skellett, Chair of the West of England LEP said “We are delighted that investors recognise the opportunities that exist within the Enterprise Zone and that we are now achieving national attention, I am confident that Enterprise Zones will continue to play a valuable part in boosting the region’s long term economic prospects.” more.

Meanwhile proposed plans for the changes to the Temple Circus roundabout have been released for consultation.  The proposal aims to create an improved gateway to the city providing a more direct route for traffic and more space for the hundreds of pedestrians and cyclist that use the area every day. more.

Five shortlisted designs for the Bristol Arena will go on display from 29 January to 11 February at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) International Design competition before moving to the M-Shed – locals are invited to give their views.


Business Rates retained in boost for local economy
A scheme which could see up to £2million in business rates being retained to boost the local economy across the West of England has been approved by the Government.  Bath & North East Somerset Council has been named as the lead authority for the Somerset Business Rates Pool which includes Weston super Mare, Nailsea, Clevedon and Portishead.  The Pool, designed to encourage economic growth will complement the West of England City Deal Agreement. more.


West of England sustainable projects
As Bristol begins its year as European Green Capital (a spectacular opening ceremony is being held tomorrow) a number of exciting projects are developing. Learn more here.

Following a conference organised by the West of England LEP last year, Bristol has been awarded a £1million grant from the government to try the latest green technology for buses.  The new hybrid buses can automatically switch from diesel to electric in areas of poor air quality. more.

Filwood Green Business Park in South Bristol, the flagship new eco-friendly business park is due to be completed in February supporting local businesses and start up enterprises. The building had been developed with a sustainable ethos using local labour and designed to achieve a 40% CO2 reduction. more.


West of England Universities leading the way in research
UWE Bristol and the University of Bath have both been recognised as two of the UK’s leading centres for industry-related research by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).  more.

Following the accolade it has been announced that The University of Bath will play a key role in helping the UK develop a hub to manufacture next generation advanced semiconductor materials (more) and researchers in Bristol have created a device that makes invisible objects in mid-air that you can feel and touch using an ultrahaptics system. more.


West of England receives national recognition as top tourist destination
Bristol’s European Green Capital status and the year-long programme of events has contributed to Bristol being named as a one of 40 top places to go in the Guardian’s 2015 holiday hotspots and also featured in The Sunday Times weekend breaks section

In North Somerset, Puxton Park, who recently unveiled exciting expansion plans including log cabins to allow families to stay on site, has been shortlisted as “Best Farm Attraction of the Year” by the National Farm Attractions Network. more.

The SS Great Britain has been recognised as having outstanding national importance after being awarded Designated Status by Arts Council England. more.



Chair of WE LEP Social Enterprise sector group awarded MBE
Bristol businessman and charity champion Stephen Parsons has been appointed MBE in the New Year Honours list for services to education and the community in Bristol. more.


Bristol Airport on time
Bristol Airport has been hailed as the “world’s best” regarding punctuality with an on-time performance rating of 94.6% according to aviation intelligence provider OAG. more.


International celebrity Shaun the Sheep arriving in the summer
Over 100 giant Shaun in the City sculptures will be appearing in iconic and beautiful green spaces across London in spring and Bristol in the summer before the flocks go to auction to raise money for sick children in hospitals across the UK. more.


£27m boost for MetroBus
The Department for Transport announced the final approval to release funding for the South Bristol Link, and we expect and hope to hear similar good news for the third route, North Fringe to Hengrove, before the end of March.

On a lighter note the Metrobus team have carried out a detailed bat survey identifying the numbers and types of bats living around the South Bristol Link. The survey has resulted in the creation of a bat underpass as well as road bridges and landscape planting designed to allow bats to continue to use existing flightlines.



Business Liaison Officer role created to support Hinkley activities
Sam Bodman has been appointed by North Somerset Council to work within the Hinkley Supply Chain Team and help collaborate with local businesses in order to capitalise on the opportunities the nuclear project brings. more.

Business registration for Hinkley Point C is also now open, the register provides opportunities for companies to profile their capabilities and receive updated project information. EDF Energy will encourage its main contractors to only work with businesses on the register. more.


UK manufacturing first for Powervamp
Powervamp based in Weston super Mare has become the first UK company to supply mobile electrical ground power (MEGP) units to London City Airport, replacing the diesel units used to power all aircraft. Powervamp, who only employ 40 people, beat off competition from large engineering firms to win the contract which will help the airport significantly reduce its Co2 emissions. more.


Expansion plans announced in region
Corporate finance provider 1pm has completed the relocation of its Bath headquarters and now plans to take on more staff.  IBEX Global has announced plans to add over 100 jobs to its Bristol site confirming the strong trade relationship that the UK now has with the US. 

Gloucester based Clarkson Evans has opened an office next to Gordano Services on the M5 due to increased workload demands in the area.



Building a 21st century creative workforce
Digital Bristol Week returns in February with a schedule of free events aimed at developing careers and contacts.

As part of “Skills Day” on Monday 2 February the LEP creative skills hub are running two workshop around the barriers and challenges preventing the development of a 21st century workforce in the creative, cultural and media industries, discussing new initiatives that are being launched nationally and in Bristol. more.


Bringing High Tech Industries and education closer together
The West of England LEP are holding an Immersion skills workshop and networking evening at Bristol & Bath Science Park on Thursday 29 January looking to build a collaborative approach to the skills needs of the High Tech industries in the West of England. Register your place here.


Skills fund available for engineering
The Department of Business, Innovation & Skills and the LEP Skills team are running a working lunch on Friday 30 January to discuss the Employers Ownership of Skills Fund for engineering which is open to SME’s and designed to encourage businesses to increase their investment in the skills of its current and future engineers. Register your place here.


Grow your Business with City of Bristol College
The City of Bristol College in conjunction with Lifetime Awarding are running a networking event at the South Bristol Skills Academy (SBSA). The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Alastair Watson will be giving the opening address. Delegates will then have the opportunity to experience on-line learning flexible qualifications to improve their skills or the skills of their workforce. more.


Business support services supported by Bath and North East Somerset Council
Cool Ventures are delivering business support services to pre start, early stage and existing businesses free of charge with the support of Bath and North East Somerset Council. The workshops will provide one to one advice sessions discussing any business related topic of concern. more.

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