WHAT'S in store for Bridgwater for 2017? Sedgemoor District Council leader Cllr Duncan McGinty talks about the year just passed and the year ahead.

With Christmas just days away, and the New Year around the corner, it’s traditional to reflect on what has happened over the past twelve months, and begin to look forward. 

It has been a busy year for Sedgemoor overall, not only in terms of sustaining the momentum of the last few years in terms of jobs and growth, but also preparing the ground for opportunities to come.

Key to this was final go-ahead for Hinkley Point C, ending years of speculation over the development and firing a starting gun on what will eventually be Europe’s largest construction project.

There are new jobs being advertised daily and new contracts being awarded to local companies. 

While it’s not without its challenges, the development at Hinkley Point C offers real opportunities for local people and businesses to get involved.
However, Hinkley isn’t the only thing that has happened in Sedgemoor this year.

2016 has seen another successful year of growth across the area, with the lowest level of unemployment in a generation continuing; 500 new homes delivered across the area; and a range of new businesses investing in the Sedgemoor area. 

Looking back, we can see that the number of projects recently finished or currently being built in Bridgwater, from the Somerset Innovation Centre near Dunball; the McMillan Theatre on Bath Road; the Bridgwater Hotel taking shape on the corner of Eastover; or Bridgwater’s newest primary School on Northgate. 

Looking ahead then, 2017 is likely to be another strong year.
Alongside Hinkley, a further wave of investment and growth will start during the year. Planning permission has already issued for four further hotels and other business space will be built. 

More training and skills capacity added at Bridgwater and Taunton College, including the construction on the UK National Nuclear College at Cannington. 

Work on Bridgwater railway station will begin over the spring/summer improving access to and use of the Station and its surrounding area; Fore Street will be refreshed, with new facilities and street furniture; and plans for Northgate will be finalised, with new investments and new facilities. 
Building work is due to begin on the Colley Lane Link Road in the New Year. 

2017 should be another busy year for the district. As ever, there will be issues and debate, but more investment, more jobs and more opportunities should see it being a happy new year for all.