WORK can now start on a new £6.7million business hub bringing hundreds of jobs to Somerset after land was secured for the scheme.

The Low Carbon Energy Innova-tion and Collaboration Centre will be built in Bridgwater to provide 2,400sq ft of flexible office space to support the Hinkley Point C project.

Somerset County Council has now purchased land at Woodlands Busi-ness Park near junction 23 of the M5, and contractors are due to start preparatory work next week.

When complete the centre will support local businesses and enc-ourage new investors to work tog-ether on projects during construction of Hinkley Point C and beyond. Somerset County Council plans to appoint an operator to manage the centre and broker business support services to help develop the local supply chain.

Cllr David Hall, the county council’s cabinet member for business, inward investment and policy, said: “This is a significant milestone.

“We now have planning permission and funding in place for the Woodlands Business Park site and building work will begin shortly.

“The innovation centre project is a major investment in Somerset which will help us capitalise on the construction of Hinkley Point C.

“Most importantly, it will create jobs and encourage growth, providing a huge boost to the local economy and laying the foundations for long-term sustainable growth.”

This first phase of the innovation centre, which is being paid for by the European Regional Develop-ment Fund and Somerset County Council, is due for completion by the summer of 2015.

It is hoped to secure funding to deliver two further phases of the centre – to extend the 2,400sq m building into a 3,000sq m building of flexible office space, and deliver an additional 2,000sq m of flexible office space and workshop space.