Councillors are to be asked to consider making use of compulsory purchase powers if needed, to enable development of the Somer Valley Enterprise Zone (SVEZ) at a meeting this week.

This follows on from the Cabinet decision approved in February enabling the council to undertake land referencing activities to identify landowners and their interests across the across the area being considered for the SVEZ scheme.

Bath & North East Somerset Council cabinet members are being asked to consider using special powers to buy land and rights that are required to deliver an exemplar, net zero green business park at Old Mills, north west of Midsomer Norton, and the associated highway works.

Cabinet is also being asked to approve the area of the land, interests and new rights that will need to be acquired for the SVEZ scheme, either by voluntary acquisition or compulsory purchase.

A report before the council’s Cabinet notes that the main land required for the SVEZ scheme is held in ten separate parcels: five within the proposed boundary for the main site and five relating to the highway works.

Negotiations with the current owners are ongoing – the report seeks authority to commence compulsory purchase procedures if those negotiations break down irretrievably.

Councillor Paul Roper, Cabinet Member for Economic and Cultural Sustainable Development, said: “The Somer Valley Enterprise Zone (SVEZ) is an important element of the new B&NES Economic Strategy and allows us to create a location for new business and employment. The council is continuing to try and reach agreement with landowners to purchase the required land and rights. We do not take the use of a CPO lightly and will carefully consider the recommendations before us.”

The Somer Valley Enterprise Zone was established in April 2017 to support local businesses and to encourage business growth in the area and the creation of new jobs.

The council has previously consulted on a proposal to put in place a Local Development Order (LDO), which was confirmed by the Local Planning Authority on 22 February. The LDO sets out the use type and quantity of development that can take place on the 13-hectare site and simplifies the planning process by removing the need for developers to make individual planning applications.

You can find out more about the Somer Valley Enterprise Zone project on the council website.

The report going before cabinet on 11th July can be viewed on the council website. You can watch the Cabinet meeting live at 6.30pm on the same web page, or watch later on the council’s YouTube channel.