CONSTRUCTION of a £1.16million project in Highbridge to boost the local economy is set the start in just a few weeks time, bringing with it more jobs.

The Highbridge Enterprise Centre based at Isleport Recycling Centre will accommodate around 35 small businesses and aims to be a ‘centre of excellence’ for new business start-ups in Somerset.

Businesses can benefit from thousands of square feet of industrial unit space and state of the art offices to operate from; including new business ‘incubation units’, which will provide entrepreneurs with the support they need to get their business ideas up and running.

A spokesman from Somerset County Council told the Weekly News: “Construction is planned to start at the end March or very early in April and we aim to be completed on site towards the end of the year. “A good level of interest has been shown by local businesses so far, with around a dozen having made contact and expressed an interest. We expect to see more businesses to come forward when we begin the build phase.”

The council also said it aimed to ensure rental rates are reasonable, compared to other places in the area such as Highbridge’s Morland Industrial Estate.

The spokesman added: “We undertook a thorough feasibility exercise which, among other things, compared prices of a number of local industrial estates.

“We believe that our rental rates will be affordable when compared to similar developments.”

Deputy leader of Somerset County Council, Cllr David Hall, said he hopes the development will give the area an “economic boost” by providing new businesses with the help and support they need.

He added: “We are promoting Somerset as an ideal place to conduct business and we are actively encouraging investment into Somerset where we have fantastic opportunities and a highly skilled work force.”

The project has been part funded through the Rural Growth Network (RGN), which is an initiative designed to encourage economic growth and enterprise in rural areas. The Heart of the South West (HotSW) Local Enterprise Partnership are working in conjunction with Devon and Somerset County Councils on behalf of the RGN.