Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillors Suria Aujla, John Bailey, Brian Bolt, Adam Boyden, Hilary Bruce, Adam Dance, Dawn Denton, Martin Dimery, Andy Dingwall, Lance Duddridge, Michael Dunk, Sarah Dyke, Caroline Ellis, Andy Hadley, Philip Ham, Susannah Hart, Alastair Hendry, Ross Henley, Mike Hewitson, Helen Key, Val Keitch, Andy Kendall, Marcus Kravis, Mike Murphy, Frances Nicholson, Graham Oakes, Sue Osborne, Stephen Page, Oliver Patrick, Connor Payne, Emily Pearlstone, Derek Perry, Evie Potts-Jones, Faye Purbrick, Rob Reed, Diogo Rodrigues, Federica Smith-Roberts, Jeny Snell, Andy Soughton, Mike Stanton, Andy Sully, Lucy Trimnell and Ros Wyke.


Although apologies had been received, Councillors Aujla, Bailey, Bruce, Denton, Keitch, Kendall and Pearlstone attended the meeting online.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 483 KB

To receive and note any declarations of interests in respect of any matters included on the agenda for consideration at this meeting.

(The other registrable interests of Councillors of Somerset Council, arising from membership of City, Town or Parish Councils and other Local Authorities will automatically be recorded in the minutes: City, Town & Parish Twin Hatters - Somerset Councillors 2023 )


Councillorspresent atthe meetingdeclared thefollowing personalinterests in their capacity as a Councillor of a Town or Parish Council or any other Local Authority:-



Steve Ashton

Crewkerne Town Council / Hinton St George Parish Council / West and Middle Chinnock Parish Council

Lee Baker

Cheddon Fitzpaine Parish Council

Marcus Barr

Wellington Town Council

Mike Best

Crewkerne Town Council

Alan Bradford

North Petherton Town Council

Theo Butt Philip

Wells City Council

Simon Carswell

Street Parish Council

Norman Cavill

West Monkton Parish Council

Peter Clayton

Burnham Highbridge Town Council

Nick Cottle

Glastonbury Town Council / St Edmunds Parish Council

Tom Deakin

Taunton Town Council

Ben Ferguson

Axbridge Town Council

Bob Filmer

Brent Knoll Parish Council

Andrew Govier

Wellington Town Council

Pauline Ham

Axbridge Town Council

Edric Hobbs

Shepton Mallet Town Council

John Hunt

Bishop’s Hull Parish Council

Jenny Kenton

Chard Town Council

Tim Kerley

Somerton Town Council

Tony Lock

Yeovil Town Council

Martin Lovell

Shepton Mallet Town Council

Kathy Pearce

Bridgwater Town Council

Tom Power

Wincanton Town Council

Wes Read

Yeovil Town Council

Leigh Redman

Bridgwater Town Council

Mike Rigby

Bishops Lydeard and Cothelstone Parish Council

Tony Robbins

Wells City Council

Peter Seib

Brympton Parish Council / Chilthorne Domer Parish Council

Heather Shearer

Street Parish Council

Gill Slocombe

Bridgwater Town Council

Brian Smedley

Bridgwater Town Council

Richard Wilkins

Curry Rivel Parish Council

Dave Woan

Yeovil Town Council



Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 52 KB

The Chair to advise the Committee of any items on which members of the public have requested to speak and advise those members of the public present of the details of the Council’s public participation scheme.

For those members of the public who have submitted any questions or statements, please note, a three minute time limit applies to each speaker and you will be asked to speak before Councillors debate the issue.

We are now live webcasting most of our committee meetings and you are welcome to view and listen to the discussion. The link to each webcast will be available on the meeting webpage, please see details under ‘click here to join online meeting’.

Additional documents:


Public questions were received from:-

·       David Redgewell – Public Transport


The questions and responses provided are attached to the minutes in Annex A.


Implementation of the Gravity Enterprise Zone via Gravity Locality Investment Plan pdf icon PDF 200 KB

Recommendations from the Leader and the Executive.

Additional documents:


Councillor Bill Revans proposed the recommendations, which were seconded by Councillor David Fothergill.


Having been duly proposed and seconded, the Council RESOLVED to:-

a)    Note the Gravity Locality Investment Plan as set out in Appendix A and associated investment priorities for the plan as outlined in para 16.6 of the report;

b)    Add the Gravity Scheme to the capital programme and to agree that the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy was updated for this as outlined in Appendix B, including adopting the Prudential Treasury Indicators included in table 3 of that Appendix.


The Leader of the Council, Councillor Bill Revans, introduced the report on the Implementation of the Gravity Enterprise Zone which the Executive considered and endorsed at its meeting on 5 June 2024.


The Executive Director for Climate and Place, Mickey Green, highlighted the main focus of the report which was the approach to delivery of the Gravity Enterprise Zone through the proposed investment in the site and the Council’s approach to managing and minimising risks associated with the project.  The report also looked at how the Council, through the Gravity Locality Investment Plan, would ensure the project delivered transformation for the county, specifically around movement, skills and business opportunities.


The Service Director for Economy, Employment and Planning, Paul Hickson, detailed how the Plan set out the vision, rationale and benefits from the investment for the site, the immediate locality and wider Somerset.  The Plan also focused on the investment needed to deliver an advanced manufacturing facility, as proposed by Agratas and the long-lasting benefits from the investment that would also attract further investment onto the wider Gravity site.


The Executive Director for Resources and Corporate Services, Jason Vaughan, detailed the changes needed to be made to the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy to accommodate the proposed investment for members to consider alongside the Gravity Locality Investment Plan.  The report also detailed the Council’s approach to financing the investment through borrowing and it set out the timing and funding needed to deliver the Plan in a way that was cost neutral to the Council.


During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

·       Councillors queried what the status was on the £55m grant and investment plan.

The Executive Director for Resources and Performance advised that there had been a long dialogue with certain departments within Government and that it had started off as a loan and was then changed to a grant which had been signed off yesterday, he further highlighted that there were set conditions for the use of the grant money.

·       Councillors supported the project and that it was a good development for the area.

·       Concern was raised on the transport infrastructure in and around the Bridgwater area and the lack of adequate public transport links.

The Service Director for Economy, Employment and Planning advised that the Local Development Order (LDO) focused on the impact and investment at the site and that they were working with Agratas on the plan. He further advised that other plans would include site access and improvement to the transport infrastructure, as he wanted to minimise the impact that the workforce traffic would have on the area.

·       Councillors were pleased to see progression on the project as it would help to improve the education prospects and opportunities to learn and reskill, which would hopefully encourage younger residents to remain in the area.

·       Councillors requested clarification on what would happen to the grant if a Section 114 notice was issued.

The Executive Director for Resources and Corporate Services advised that if a Section 114 notice was issued,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.