Ground-breaking at The Hive, Weston’s new business centre

The start of construction work at The Hive, North Somerset’s landmark new business centre for start-up, small and growing businesses which will be based in the Junction 21 Enterprise area of Weston-super-Mare, has been celebrated.

The new development has been enabled by an investment of £1,040,348 from the European Regional Development Fund, alongside funding from North Somerset Enterprise Agency, a not-for-profit organisation with social objectives, which will own, manage and be based at The Hive.

The enterprise agency has received support from sustainable bankers Triodos and also has Local Area Agreement funding.

Chief Executive Angela Hicks and Chairman Charles Walker of North Somerset Enterprise Agency marked the start of works with a ground-breaking ceremony in the Business Quarter of Weston Park.

They were joined at the former Weston Airfield site, by Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, Ian Hunt from AWW Architects and Bill Badham, Chief Executive and Managing Director of Pollard, the Somerset-based building contractor whose team will be undertaking the 50 week project.

The Hive, a three storey 20,000 sq.ft. building due to open in Spring 2014, will be dedicated to supporting the launch, development and success of local businesses and providing them with an array of on-site business support, resources and services.

These will include professional, flexible and affordable workspace including fully-equipped offices with high speed broadband, a managed business reception, virtual offices and meeting rooms.

On-site free or low-cost business support, advice and training from North Somerset Enterprise Agency’s experienced and knowledgeable team of locally-based advisors will also be available at The Hive. A business club, networking and other events will be hosted from the business centre.

The Hive is designed for accessibility and will offer rentable managed office space, communal facilities and parking. Some 40-60 tenants will enjoy easy-in and easy-out terms, a tailored package for their business, support services and the opportunity to be part of a vibrant business community. Non-resident businesses can operate virtual offices from The Hive and hire meeting rooms.

The building, which is designed to be energy-efficient and sustainable, will incorporate many energy-saving measures, avoiding air conditioning and including natural ventilation and lighting, photovoltaic cells and solar panels on the roof. A BREEAM pre-assessment indicates that the building is on course to achieve an Excellent rating.

“We have planned The Hive for a long time, so seeing work start on site is exciting both for us and for North Somerset’s start-up and growing businesses who will now begin to see this new hub for enterprise taking shape.” said Angela Hicks, Chief Executive of North Somerset Enterprise Agency.

“With an ideal location, minutes from the M5 and its unique offering in this area, The Hive is already creating lots of interest and enquiries. Now, we look forward to working closely with our site team to bring the building to fruition.”

Bridgwater-based builder Pollard has been announced as The Hive’s building contractor. The award-winning business, established since 1860, prides itself on its excellent partnerships with its clients and the added value it brings to projects.

It is involved across a vast range of sectors and has a successful track record of projects in Weston including The Healthy Living Centre and numerous schools with North Somerset Council, the recent refurbishment of Worle Crematorium and the development of Locking Road Surgery.
“We are delighted and proud to have been awarded this highly significant project, marking the start of the first development for Weston Business Quarter.
“As a Somerset based company, with a long standing history in Weston, it is fitting that we have been selected to undertake a scheme which will provide an outstanding facility to assist local businesses to grow.” said Bill Badham, Managing Director of Pollard.

“This contract will also be of benefit to the local economy during the construction phase as the majority of our supply chain will be locally based, demonstrating the important role the construction sector plays in the regional economy”.

Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic Development, said: “I am delighted to see this project getting under way, not only because it is a timely initiative to help new businesses in North Somerset, but also because it marks the start of employment development on a third new site in Weston-super-Mare. It reinforces the message to employers that Weston is open for business.”