Ashfords’ public sector team helps Somerset Council power ahead with £4bn car battery gigafactory plan

March 28, 2024

UK law firm Ashfords, which has an office in Bristol, has been appointed to advise on elements of the £4bn electric vehicle battery gigafactory to be built on former industrial land in Somerset.

The firm is working with Somerset Council on the consenting, funding and development of the massive production plant by Agratas, Jaguar Land Rover-owner Tata Group’s global battery business.

The gigafactory, pictured, will produce nearly half the projected batteries required for the UK automotive sector by the early 2030s, cementing the UK’s future as a  green transport pioneer.

The re-development of the site on the Gravity business park near Bridgwater, represents an opportunity for the council to establish a nationally significant manufacturing base capable of attracting international operators and creating up to 7,500 jobs.

Ashfords’ public sector team advised on innovative funding mechanisms, procurement, subsidy control and grant funding structures on the site, previously used for manufacturing munitions during World War II and now within a designated enterprise zone. 

The team also worked on the planning agreement, which sets out the framework for how the campus will be managed and enabled the council to make a local development order.

Ashfords was instructed via the CCS (Crown Commercial Service) Public Sector Legal Services Framework, which  plays an important role helping the public sector save money when buying common goods and services.

Ashfords partner and head of its public sector offering Lucy Woods, pictured, said: “It has been a real pleasure to work with the council team on this groundbreaking project.

“It is particularly exciting as the ambitions of the site dovetail with our firm’s strong commitment to a green future.”

The firm’s public sector team provides advice on legal opportunities and challenges for government and public sector service providers across the country. It was ranked in Tier 2 in this year’s Legal 500 legal directory.

Ashfords, which employs more than 500 people, also has offices in London, Exeter and Plymouth.

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