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July 2015


Joint Spatial Plan for the West of England
All four West of England authorities are working together to prepare a Joint spatial plan (JSP) in order to effectively shape the future of our area.  There is a commitment to secure funding for essential infrastructure, balance the need for growth and development with the need to secure quality of life and a strong environmental future and adopt a sequential approach to development which prioritises the use of previously developed urban areas.  In addition the JSP will ensure our transport plans are coordinated and key infrastructure requirements identified. more

West of England is the only Core City Region to make a net contribution to government
It has been confirmed - the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership area is supporting the national economy, contributing to, rather than taking from, the public purse.  And we are the only Core City LEP region/Combined Authority that contributes to government finances generating more than £0.6 billion in 2013-14 - demonstrable proof that the West of England is the place to do business. more

Bath selected as location for one of six new Next Generation Digital Economy Centres
The summer budget announced an investment of £23m into a further six Next Generation Digital Economy Centres including Bath.  The centres aim to exploit opportunities across the digital sectors and will be created with support from regional councils and local SMEs.  Following Tech Nation there has been an increased focus from Westminster on the UK’s digital clusters. more

Another step towards Weston regeneration
North Somerset Council published their Prospectus for Change earlier in the year outlining a new vision for the regeneration of Weston-super-Mare. A key step has now been taken as the council’s Executive have agreed to purchase Weston Police Station and the adjoining magistrates court building, a two-storey Grade II Listed property which has been closed since 2011. The site will deliver significant growth and investment for high quality residential redevelopment within the town centre. more

The Big Commuting Challenge 2015
The Big Commuting month long Challenge is underway across the West of England with over 3000 commuters taking part. The initiative is about cutting congestion and improving the health of local people by encouraging commuters to try more sustainable modes of transport.  As an incentive to switch to taking the bus, Travelwest are offering all participants a 25% discount off First weekly bus tickets. more

Bristol has also been named as one of the top nine active cities worldwide at an Active Cities Summit hosted in Bristol by sustainable transport charity Sustrans. more

StartUp Bus stops in Bristol as part of tour of Britain
The StartUp tour visited Filwood Green Business Park and the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone offering advice from businesses including Sage, NatWest bank and the government backed Start Up Loans Company. There was a chance to network with local entrepreneurs and meet local business start- up support organisations including FundSurfer and Set Squared. more



Science Park to play a key role in supporting the West of England’s economy
Ambitious plans for a new international automotive research facility at the Bristol & Bath Science Park have been revealed along with more space for growing businesses and improved training provision for the UK composites sector.  The Science Park will play a key role in developing fast emerging industries within the Emerson Green Enterprise Area which will deliver job creation and inward investment - building on the West of England’s reputation as a major centre for science, technology and engineering. more

Further jobs created in J21 Enterprise Area
The Hive, the flagship project of the J21 Enterprise Area, has celebrated its first anniversary – and announced that its first 12 months have proved so successful, its team is now thinking about Phase Two, which will see the addition of a new wing linking to the existing building and creating another 40 offices. The Hive’s tenants are currently supporting 56 jobs in North Somerset. more

Furthermore 180 new jobs are to be created after Avon and Somerset Constabulary open a new response unit at a Weston Gate Business Park as part of their plan to improve and modernise their operations.

Bristol Pound – widely recognised as the UK’s most successful local currency
The new Bristol pound notes were released on 1 July to coincide with the third anniversary of the Bristol pound which played a key role in Bristol’s bid to become Green Capital.  Renewable electricity firm, Good Energy has also become a world first after allowing customers to pay their energy bills with the currency.  More than 800 businesses in the city now accept the Bristol Pound. more

Funding allocation for Avonmouth heat networks
South Gloucestershire and Bristol City Councils have been allocated funding to develop a heat network in the Avonmouth/Severnside Enterprise Area. Heat networks are firmly established in other countries but currently provide less than 2% of the UK’s heat demand. The Councils are partnering with SITA to build a Waste of Energy plant which will generate power from the combustion of refuse.  Research shows that heat networks could supply up to 14% of the UK’s heat demand becoming a viable cost-effective alternative to individual renewable technologies while reducing the cost of energy for consumers. more

Shaun in the City trail starts (6th July – 31 August)
70 b-ewe-tiful giant Shaun the Sheep sculptures, created by artists, designers and celebrities, have finally arrived and are located at iconic locations and green spaces across Bristol for the public to enjoy. The flock will go to auction later in the year raising funds for The Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity. more

Fit for Nuclear Service for Manufacturers
Fit for Nuclear (F4N)  is a unique service to help manufacturing companies in England get ready to bid for work in the civil nuclear supply chain. F4N lets companies measure their operations against the standards required to supply the nuclear industry and take the necessary steps to close any gaps – with an average £10k match-funding for improvement and/or R&D projects. F4N is delivered by Nuclear AMRC in partnership with the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) which is not part of the Business Growth Service. more

Grow your own food policy launched at Keynsham firm
Staff at Keynsham facilities management business, Almeda, can pick and eat their own fruit and vegetables from self made urban allotments built in the grounds. Brady George, Operations Director, came up with the idea in order to promote staff health and well-being after some of the younger members of their graduate programme admitted they had never eaten fruit or vegetables. more



Bath based Mayden Academy launches innovative software to train future engineers
As demand for software engineers grows, the continued success of Bath and Bristol’s tech sector depends upon the retention and growth of developer talent.  The West of England LEP has supported Mayden in its unique employer-led intensive training programme. Based in Bath, Mayden Academy aims to plug the gap between theory and practice by offering trainees hands on experience of working with a team on commercial development projects. more

SW Apprentice team make the Brathay Challenge final
The Redrow Homes SW team are one of seven teams through to the national finals of the Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2015. Supported by the National Apprenticeship Service and funded by the Skills Funding Agency the challenge offers the chance to improve team building, leadership and community skills. This year the teams have been tasked with engaging with employers which led to four members of the Redrow team presenting to the representatives from the LEP Board, LEP Skills team, Chamber of Commerce and local business leaders. more

Accreditation puts Bath’s School of Management among world’s best
The University of Bath’s School of Management has been placed in the top 1% of business schools worldwide after receiving the highest accreditation status from a global higher education assessment organisation, EQUIS, the European Foundation for Management Developments’ (EFMD) quality inspectorate. more

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