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4,000 jobs in pipeline at Puriton renewable energy park
THOUSANDS of jobs could be created in Sedgemoor after ambitious plans to build a renewable energy park were unveiled.
Up to 4,000 posts could be created early next year if the Puriton Energy Park scheme gets off the ground.
Planners at Sedgemoor District Council say the project is earmarked for the production of low-carbon renewable energy.
An outline planning application is expected to be submitted by site owner BAE Systems in the new year.
Stuart Houlet, the council’s planning policy team leader, told the Mercury: “The job scene in Sedgemoor is changing significantly. There are lots of opportunities with Bridgwater College and Hinkley Point C.
“We want to see people studying and choosing to work in the district.
“The energy park puts emphasis on local employment, taking into account the site’s relationship to Bridgwater as well as nearby communities.
“Green energy is a fast-growing industry and is well-paid.”
The council believes the project will see Sedgemoor become one of the UK’s leading centres for energy-related business, employment and skills with Hinkley, Puriton and Bridgwater College as the foundation.
The form energy production at Puriton will take is currently unclear.
Mr Houlet said: “Nothing’s set in stone. Once outline planning consent has been approved they can approach the market.
“It may be that a large company wants to take up the whole site, but it’s likely that there will be separate companies taking up portions of the development.”
People living near the proposed site have raised concerns over increased traffic and access.
A supplementary planning document prepared by the council says: "The potential conflict between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles along Woolavington Road raises significant local highway safety and capacity concerns.”
Mr Houlet admitted: “The challenge will be the location because you also have a lot of development in north-east Bridgwater with Morrisons.
“Transport mitigation will be worked into the planning documents, taking into account Hinkley C traffic.”
Bruce Poole, clerk at Puriton Parish Council, said it broadly supported green energy and awaited the planning application with interest.
BAE Systems was unavailable for comment as the Mercury went to press.
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