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Council’s ten year Economic Development Strategy approved

| District

South Somerset District Council’s Economic Development Strategy (EDS) for 2019 to 2028 has been approved by Full Council.

The EDS sets out the Council’s vision, key outcomes, priority themes and action plan to deliver economic development in South Somerset over the next ten years.

The strategy has six key areas of focus, or priority themes, which provide a framework for individual projects and will allow the Council achieve its overall vision - “South Somerset, a great place to do business.”

The themes are:

  • Business support, retention, innovation and inward investment – helping businesses complete locally, nationally and internationally by ensuring they have access to the support they need.
  • Transport and communications infrastructure – ensuring road, rail, broadband and mobile infrastructure are upgraded and improved effectively.
  • Economic inclusion – skills, careers and training – Increasing and up-skilling workforce where there is demand and responding to local business and community skill needs to build lasting careers and retain business in the District.
  • Land, sites and workspaces – providing space for new and existing businesses to work, foster talent and grow.
  • Supporting urban economies – completing the programmes of rejuvenation and regeneration to help economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for residents and workforce.
  • Supporting rural economies – supporting the interaction between urban centres and their surrounding rural areas and to help showcase and build the link between rural communities and economic sectors.

Councillor Jo Roundell Greene, portfolio holder for Economy at South Somerset District Council, said: “I am delighted that the Economic Development Strategy was endorsed by fellow members at the Full Council meeting in February. The strategy identifies the District Council’s key economic areas of focus for the future and sets out the way that we can increase new investment in the area and support our established businesses.

“South Somerset is already a great place to do business, and with a clear Economic Development Strategy, we are well placed to attract new businesses, help start-ups and encourage diversity and innovation. Working with partners, we can make sure that our work force has the skills it needs to make business thrive. We are a forward thinking council and this strategy forms part of our new Council Plan looking at the way the economy and business is changing and developing across our district and beyond.”

Our Golden Opportunities:

The Council recognises the many economic strengths of the District and the EDS has been created in a way which builds on these strengths. Highlighted as Golden Opportunities, these strengths inform the strategy and the action plan outlining the Council’s future work.

The Golden Opportunities include:

  • Stable economic credentials offering potential for high levels of economic participation
  • Strong concentration of key sectors including aerospace and advanced engineering and manufacturing
  • A well established food and drink sector which links into our agricultural sector
  • Schools, further education and skills providers have positive relationships with many employers and have a clear appetite to deepen these links
  • A strong tourism sector that builds on an attractive rural environment
  • Committed major infrastructure projects including the A303 road network
  • The potential of the digital economy and the productivity enhancements this could bring
  • A commitment to keeping South Somerset clean, green, attractive and sustainable

Why does the Council need an EDS?

SSDC is committed to attracting new investment in South Somerset as well as supporting existing businesses.

We want to showcase the economic credentials of the district which will boost the number of jobs in an area where there is already low unemployment.

With the support of key initiatives such as iAero (an innovative partnership of aerospace businesses), the strong concentration of key sectors, including aerospace and advanced engineering and manufacturing, the EDS offers potential for further diversification, innovation, collaboration and economic growth.

The benefits of having a clear economic development strategy also includes providing clear direction and framework to increase South Somerset's chances of obtaining funding from Central Government and regional bodies such as the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, which recently helped to part-fund the extension of the Yeovil Innovation Centre.

Thank you. You response is appreciated.

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