THE £15million conversion of a medieval priory into a national training centre for EDF Energy staff will create “a world class environment for learning”.

Sedgemoor District Council has given the green light to EDF’s project to convert the Bridgwater College-owned Cannington Court.

The council said the scheme would secure the future of “one of the district’s most important historic buildings” and contribute to the economy.

A team of Somerset craftsmen have already begun carrying out vital repair and maintenance work to the court’s listed buildings.

Sedgemoor District Council leader Duncan McGinty told the Mercury: “This is a tremendous scheme, where everybody benefits.

“The buildings and their beautiful gar-dens will be preserved for us all to admire, and the college and EDF Energy will have facilities for education and training that will be the envy of visitors from far and wide.”

EDF’s Marc Coltelli, who is heading the project, said: ‘‘EDF Energy and Bridgwater College are delighted consent has been granted.

“This is a significant step in achieving our joint ambition to restore Cannington Court.

“In partnership with Bridgwater College and with local community involvement we want to create a world class environment for learning and skill development, and a showcase for innovation and sustainability.

“I’d also like to thank Sedgemoor District Council and English Heritage for their support and co-operation, and look forward to working with them in the future.”

The project includes an extension to Cannington Court for a reception, work on Priory Barn, refurbishment of Priory Lodge and the dairy, and a building to replace the Amory Block, which will be demolished. There will also be accommodation for 50 people.

The buildings date back to the 12th Century when they were connected to a nunnery, and include a medieval barn and walled garden.