Cabinet Minister Visits Rural Growth Centre
|Published: 19th May 2012 11:20|
picture from archive
A key site in Somerset for a multi-million investment in rural economic growth was visited this week by Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Environment.
The Government announced in March that Somerset and Devon had been selected as one of five pilot regions for the Rural Growth Network (RGN), with an award of £2.9 million.
At Highbridge, Caroline Spelman met representatives of Somerset County Council and partner organisations in the Rural Growth Network bid, Devon County Council and Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).They are working together in the pilot to add 1,300 jobs and £58 million to the two counties' economies.
She then visited a site earmarked for building of new enterprise centre for Highbridge at Isleport Business Park.
The Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Cllr David Hall, said: "It was a pleasure to welcome Caroline Spelman to Highbridge to see one area where the Somerset and Devon pilot will be making a difference.
"The Rural Growth Network will bolster the Council efforts with our partners in Devon County Council and the LEP to increase the opportunities for small businesses to make a strong and sustainable start and encourage job and wealth creation across the county."
Mrs Spelman said: "We are funding Devon and Somerset's Rural Growth Network to help ensure that no great business idea is held back by the challenges of a remote location. Local entrepreneurs will have new chances to achieve their business potential, boosting the rural economy and supporting a thriving local community."
Among the guests at Highbridge was Adrian Ryan General Manager of Snazaroo, a globally-leading face paint and accessories manufacturer.
The company occupies units at an existing enterprise centre in Minehead, which will also be included in the RGN plan for Somerset, as well as other units nearby in Mart Road manufacturing the products.
Adrian said: "Snazaroo employs more than 70 people and is growing every day. Without being able to expand into Minehead Enterprise Centre for our assembly and distribution lines three years ago, and the Council making modifications for us, we would have probably needed to leave the county as there was nowhere else suitable here - and might even have left the country.
"Having access to superfast broadband will give the website side of our business a bit of a boost and I'll be looking with interest at what is provided to see how it can help me and my staff.
"Running a business in rural areas is difficult and I'm pleased this pilot is going to help people like me who started up a company from scratch to grow into one that can compete at a national level."
To find out more about the Rural Growth Network pilot in Somerset and Devon go to www.heartofswlep.co.uk .