A HUGE site near Bridgwater which has remained unused since 2008 is the focus of an ambitious plan which could create more than 4,000 jobs.

The 635-acre Huntspill Energy Park, in Puriton, near junction 23 of the M5, has been bought by banking business the Salamanca Group.

Sedgemoor District Council said the sale of the former BAE Systems site which included the Royal Ordinance Factory has the potential to ‘deliver huge benefits locally, regionally and nationally’.

The site has remained unused since its closure in 2008 but will be redeveloped by a new landowner. 

Councillor Duncan McGinty, leader of the district council, said the developed site would create thousands of jobs and be a vital source for the skills and expertise needed by the Government to deliver its economic ambitions.

He said: “We are delighted that Salamanca Group has chosen to invest in this UK site that will cement a place for the South West as a centre for the research, development and delivery of the facilities we will need to meet this country’s energy demands. It will provide exceptional opportunities for local people and businesses in the future.”

The former Royal Ordinance Factory, which was once used for making explosives, was given Enterprise Zone status by the government meaning it will be a golden opportunity to help deliver the government's Industrial Strategy.

A spokesman for the Salamanca Group said the company aims to develop the site in the next few years with a focus on low carbon and on-site energy generation. 

The business says it predicts the site will create more than 4,400 jobs and will generate in the region of £125 million of business rates. 

With low-carbon, on-site energy production as its focus, the Salamanca Group said the land the 'will attract interest from a range of companies and their supply chains and its proximity to Hinkley Point C power station makes it one of the most important new sites in the UK.'

Martin Bellamy, CEO of Salamanca Group, said: “The country faces exciting challenges and the commercial world needs to know we are open for business.

"This transformational project opens the West of England to the very best national and international companies providing key financial and energy benefits. 

"This will be the business hub for the future. As strategic investors, we have and will continue to use our deep relationships with key partners to deliver this project. 

"We will now work closely with the council, local communities and other partners to achieve the optimal future for the site and, by extension, the local economy.”

Cllr McGinty said the project is 'central' to the council's corporate strategy and said the authority is 'excited about the positive impact the site will have on Sedgemoor.'

“We prioritise an employment led approach and the development of this project is of utmost importance to achieving our ambitions.

"We will be able to inspire our young people, generate new opportunities and retain our well-educated work force, creating a revitalised, higher value and sustainable economy into the future.”