Gravity – making the case for green growth
Gravity will be the UK’s first commercial smart campus and provide a blueprint for a cleaner future by creating thousands of jobs in the industries of tomorrow.
About the project
It aims to attract world-leading clean growth companies, creating up to 7,500 jobs on an Enterprise Zone site at Somerset’s former Royal Ordnance Factory.
We provided consultation and engagement support during 2021 as the project progressed at pace through a Local Development Order process, which aims to provide flexible planning and accelerate development at the 616-acre site.
We also worked with business leaders to produce a narrative for the South West, which is used in marketing material to attract investor interest.
Securing a Local Development Order was an important part of Gravity and partners’ ambitions to attract the world’s most innovative companies to the South West.
It was essential that the business community and stakeholders were engaged and given the opportunity to respond meaningfully to Gravity’s proposals.
What we did
Working in times of lockdown at the height of the pandemic, our flexible approach directly engaged every nearby business, local politicians, media and business leaders over a 10-month period.
Story-telling and regular conversations were a key part of the approach. Stories included Gravity’s vision for thousands of new jobs, and opportunities for local people and businesses.
We also worked with architect and TV presenter George Clarke, his charity the Ministry of Building Innovation and Education (MOBIE) and Bounce Forward to support a design challenge with local schools, where students designed zero-carbon communities.
Dedicated microsite visited more than 15,000 times
Over 40 items of local and regional coverage were generated for Gravity
5 community webinars with over 150 attendees and 120 questions answered
Our activity included
- A dedicated microsite, which was visited more than 15,000 times during 2021.
- We organised and led two business leaders’ webinars with senior representatives of organisations including Bristol Airport, The Bristol Port Company, EDF Energy (Hinkley Point C), the Federation of Small Business and the Institute of Directors. We worked with this group to shape a narrative for the South West – powered by people, opportunity and place – which was prominently hosted on Gravity’s website (right) to support its marketing efforts.
- Five community webinars, covering sustainability, connectivity, job creation and Gravity’s vision for the future. One hundred and fifty-three people attended the sessions and asked almost 120 questions, many of which were answered in real time.
- Regular media engagement, with content about Gravity’s clean growth vision released to local and regional journalists alongside fresh images for the site. In total, more than 40 items of coverage were generated on the project.
The engagement during 2021 laid the groundwork for Sedgemoor District Council’s four-week formal consultation on the Local Development Order in November and December.
The Council resolved in December 2021 to adopt the order subject to finalising a legal agreement and discussions with statutory consultees.
The narrative on the South West remains at the core of Gravity’s marketing efforts and interest from major international investors remains strong in the site.
This unlocks an opportunity to create thousands of high-quality permanent jobs and support the UK’s Brexit response by attracting significant new international investment.
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