Reprinted from Newsletter 121, dated 2006 December

News: High-profile national developers take on Morland enterprise

John Brunsdon

Two nationwide developers — Urban Splash and Priority Sites — have become involved with the former tannery site on the edge of Glastonbury. Their role was announced by the Southwest Regional Development Agency (RDA), owner of the site, on December 13.

The two companies intend to provide 115,000 square feet of business space on part of the 31-acre Morland-Baily site.

They have strong track records for delivering pioneering high-quality regeneration schemes across Britain, the RDA said. Urban Splash was responsible for success stories such as the Royal William Yard in Plymouth, and has particular strength in the sensitive restoration of listed buildings.

Priority Sites is a joint venture between the national regeneration agency English Partnerships and the Royal Bank of Scotland. It specializes in speculative development of high-quality new-build industrial and “hybrid” workspace. It has completed a number of successful schemes in the Southwest, totalling 200,000 square feet and creating 550 jobs.

The local Beckery Island Trust will not as a result be involved in the conservation of the larger buildings on the Morland-Baily site. There might still be a role for the trust at the Northover Mill Cottage.

The RDA said at the end of November that work to clean up contaminated land at the site is now complete. More than 10,000 cubic metres of soil were cleaned after boreholes, trial pits and monitoring wells were dug to identify areas polluted by a thousand years of tanning. The tests showed considerably more areas to treat than were first envisaged.

Up to 40 workers from the contractor Edmund Nuttall Ltd have been busy on the site since infrastructure work began in March. 35,000 tons of crushed concrete from demolished buildings was used to build new roads on site. Widening of the A39 and the new junction for Morlands Enterprise Park — as the site is now called — is due to finish in spring.