The Onion Collective aims to create an arts, cultural and social enterprise development with a national profile at East Quay. The scheme will provide over two hundred new jobs from the building phase through to operation and increased tourism, and will bring economic prosperity to the area.
The Full Council gave its support with approval of a lease on part of the land at East Quay and a loan of up to £1.5m to support the Group while its application for funding from the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) is decided.
West Somerset Council had appointed the Onion Collective as the preferred bidder for a development of the land at East Quay in February 2015 and granted planning consent in June 2018 after The Onion Collective’s consultation showed strong public support.
Council Leader Cllr Anthony Trollope-Bellew, said: “The East Quay development provides many opportunities including the chance to change the narrative of Watchet, transforming it into a destination that supports tourism, employment, skills development, and growth. Local people have been central to the concept and development of the plans and this will mean that both the purpose of the buildings and aesthetics of the design come from community voices. We anticipate this project to act as a catalyst for the economic recovery of the whole area and believe it to be a truly transformative regeneration project.”
Georgie Grant, Director of the Onion Collective, added:
“We are delighted that the Council are supporting the East Quay project with the facility of the loan, it is a clear demonstration of our joint desire to build a vibrant and community led future for our town. This East Quay development is a particularly important scheme for local people because of the amount of public space available, the number of jobs that will be enabled and the visitor attraction activities that will run from the development. The loan facility means our application to the Coastal Communities Fund is stronger and it sends a valued and vital message that addressing the regeneration needs of coastal towns like Watchet takes collaboration and partnership working between the public and social enterprise sector. We are enormously grateful to the Council for this decision and hope that the Coastal Community Fund see the extraordinary potential in this project.”
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