NEW commercial units have been delivered on the eastern edge of Minehead – and new council houses may not be far behind.
Somerset West and Taunton Council has completed work on two new commercial units off Seaward Way, as part of its corporate plan to encourage economic growth in the former West Somerset area.
The new units (on what is officially called Rainbow Way) are both occupied, providing new jobs and attracting inward investment to the town.
The council is now turning its attention to the adjoining site near the town’s cricket club, where it intends to construct 54 new low-carbon council houses by 2023.
One of the new Rainbow Way units has allowed major local employer Snazaroo to relocate, while the other has been let to national company Toolstation.
The units’ construction was aided by a grant of £969,000 by Homes England, which provides funding for projects which deliver new infrastructure to ‘unlock’ housing and employment sites.
Completing the units has freed up affordable employment space in Minehead town centre, encouraging small- and medium-sized businesses.
Councillor Marcus Kravis, portfolio holder for asset management and economic developments, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to commence and complete construction of these much needed-units in Minehead within 12 months – which, allowing for slowdown due to covid-19, is remarkable.
“I would like to thank our construction partners Devon Contractors for their superb work on this project which will benefit the local economy in West Somerset.”
With the Rainbow Way units completed, the council has now turned its attention to the neighbouring land on Seaward Way, where 54 new low-carbon houses could be built.
The council announced its intention to build the first new council houses in Minehead for more than 30 years in November 2020, alongside a separate scheme of 11 new dwellings in Taunton.
Magna Housing Association previously expressed interest in developing the site and obtained permission to build 40 new homes in the area in October 2019 – but it has since withdrawn this expression of interest.
The scheme in its current form will comprise ten two-bedroom houses, seven three-bedroom houses and two four-bedroom houses, alongside with 17 one-bed and 15 two-bed flats.
There will also be one wheelchair-adapted two-bed flat and two wheelchair-adapted chalet bungalows.
Formal plans were submitted in early-February, with a final decision expected to be taken by the council’s planning committee later in the year and construction anticipated to start by the summer.
Both the Minehead and Taunton housing schemes are anticipated to be delivered by 2023.