NEWS IN BRIEF
Business leaders on board to support West of England’s growth ambitions
The LEP has appointed five new representatives from key industries including aerospace, shipping, housing, construction the creative sector and small business. They join Robert Sinclair, Kalpna Woolf and James Durie, who have been reappointed.
They will work alongside the UAs to continue to attract investment, support infrastructure development and put conditions in place to enable businesses to move to the area and expand.
Colin Skellett has been reappointed as chairman of the board to build on the progress made by the LEP since it was set up by the Government in 2011. more
Economic boost for South Bristol as Filwood Green Business Park opens
A £12m Green Business Park designed to boost economic prosperity and create hundreds of jobs in South Bristol was officially opened by Mayor George Ferguson on 28 May who said it represented a “great vote of confidence in the future of South Bristol”. Filwood Green is a flagship project of Bristol’s year as European Green Capital and is a new sustainable home for SMEs. more
Business leaders address skills shortages at West of England infrastructure forum
Industry heavyweights, including EDF, Bristol Airport and Network Rail, met last week with key representatives from the city region’s colleges and universities to address future skills gaps in the construction sector, with a particular focus on the common pinch points likely to emerge as a result of the major infrastructure projects taking place over the next 3-5 years.
The LEP Skills team commissioned the CITB who presented the interim findings of the local labour market which forecast 550 projects within the region with investment totalling £7bn
“Joining major projects, clients and providers together and sharing issues and opportunities is a welcome development – especially in economies as buoyant and competitive for Skills as Bristol and the West of England.” Guy Hazelhurst, EDF Energy
A full agenda as South Gloucestershire hold Forum to discuss growth plans
Over 80 attendees from the public and private sector attended the South Gloucestershire business forum annual breakfast on the 5th June. Topics covered the continued growth in Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing (Filton), Innovation and Science (Emerson Green) and Logistics and Manufacturing (Sevenside) as well as the Filton airfield planning application and the Yate Riverside complex.
The panel chaired by Peter Marchbank of Third Dimension, included Barbara Davies, West of England LEP, James Durie, Bristol Chamber, Chris Smith, Marshfield Bakery and Matt Cross, Invest Bristol and Bath. Discussions were based around avenues of support that businesses can access in the West of England. more
MetroWest Phase 1
Proposals to re-open the Portishead branch line have reached a major milestone, as statutory consultation begins on plans for a new Portishead railway station at Quays Avenue, the reopening of Pill railway station, the provision of new footbridges across the line, and other works including double tracking through Pill.
The planning application will be submitted in spring 2016 through the Development Consent Order process, with the aim of completing construction in early 2019 and starting the train services in spring 2019.
The consultation will run for six weeks, from 22 June to 3 August. Feedback will be used to inform detailed scheme design for the Portishead branch line planning application. Full details of the proposals and the consultation, including the dates of public exhibitions, will be available from 22 June on the travelwest website, where you will also find a link to the online questionnaire.
Planning permission granted for Boxworks in Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone
A new work space will pioneer the container based workspace concept in Bristol. Boxworks, located adjacent to the Engine Shed, has been granted planning permission by Bristol City Council.
Twenty shipping containers will be craned into position at the end of June and transformed into custom designed workspace for the creative, digital and high-tech industries. The development will address part of the shortage of affordable, flexible and curated work-space before the second phase of Engine Shed opens with funding for the West of England LEP. more
New research grants affirm Bath as a leader in powertrain engineering
The University’s Powertrain & Vehicle Research Centre (PVRC) has received three prestigious grants totalling more than £650,000 from Innovate UK to work with leading industry partners in the automotive industry to improve automotive engine efficiency and emissions. more
RBS to give innovators the chance to trial green technology in their Bristol branches
The RBS Bristol Innovation Gateway is looking for new ideas to reduce energy, water consumption and waste. The initiative is part RBSs engagement with the Go Green scheme organised by Business West and Low Carbon South West and aims to nurture new projects and help local innovators and SMEs accelerate their ideas to market. more
Airport extension retail line up revealed
Bristol Airport has revealed the line-up of retail and catering outlets for its £8.6m eastern terminal extension set to open this summer. The new stores will be JD Sport, Accesssorize and a Traveller store carrying brands including Barbour, Superdry and Joules.
Thomson and First Choice have also added another aircraft to their fleet resulting in additional routes. A total of 6.3m passengers used the airport in 2014, the new expansion plans are designed to improve facilities in order to handle 10m passengers per annum. more
Pucklechurch Solar Project
South Gloucestershire Council has secured a grid connection and is planning to organise a collection of solar panels (20 rows) in Pucklechurch over the next 25 years. The solar project is aimed at generating renewable electricity equal to that used by 935 homes which will reduce carbon emission and generate an income for the council and its community. more
Former sorting office site acquired by Bristol City Council
The derelict sorting office building and site adjacent to Temple Meads station has been acquired by Bristol City Council. The eyesore building that greets visitors to the city arriving by train has lain disused and derelict for over 17 years. The purchase of this 2.1 hectare site means that the drawing up of more ambitious plans for Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone can now progress. more
Planning approved for Filton Airfield site
Plans to develop the former Filton Airfield site have been approved. The new mixed use plans include provision for new homes, schools an employment hub, retail outlets and a hotel helping to create a substantial number of jobs across a range of sectors and drive the areas economic growth. more
US tech giant opens new HQ in Bristol
Bristol has been given a boost following the news that American supercomputer leader Cray Inc has opened its new EMEA headquarters in the city. Matthew Cross head of Invest Bristol & Bath said “it is another string to Bristol and Bath’s bow and will undoubtedly attract further inward investment into the region.” more
New agreement with key Chinese economic hub
A Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed between Bristol & West of England China Bureau with the Guangdon Provincial Government which has been designed to help businesses overcome the difficulties many businesses face when setting up in China. Guangdon includes one of China’s main economic hubs and manufacturing centres, the Pearl River Delta. more
More than 1,600 delegates and exhibitors attended Venturefest Bristol & Bath
Bristol & Bath’s position as the UK’s leading centre for innovation and investment opportunities was underlined at Venturefest Bristol & Bath as digital and technology experts from around the world converged at the Passenger Shed and Engine Shed on 9 June.
Delegates were able to see Airbus’s ground-breaking electric plane, the Eco-Flyer and the VENTURER Consortium’s Wildcat driverless car, which is being trialled in the region to test the feasibility of driverless transport.
The event shone a spotlight on 30 of the region’s best start-up companies, each of which demonstrated prototypes to industry colleagues. The Investor Showcase also gave 12 local start-ups the chance to present their ideas to a select panel of investors with the aim of securing funding to further develop their innovations. more
LEPs are driving economic growth across an economic area. They provide a means for local authorities to work together with business in order to quicken the economic recovery.