A plan for a “state-of-the-art” office campus on swathes of the Somerset green belt
A massive new “state-of-the-art” office complex – complete with a 3,000-seat auditorium – could be built on vast swathes of green belt land on the edge of North Somerset. US healthcare software company Epic wants to build a new campus for 350 staff on a 90-acre site east of Long Ashton.
The site is located within the green belt between the A370 and A4174 and is currently used for agricultural purposes. The scheme – now submitted to North Somerset Council – will see three “low-rise” office buildings built alongside a “culinary” building, a training center and a 3,000-seat auditorium.
The buildings will be connected to each other through tunnels and bridges, and there will also be underground parking. The site will also contain a solar photovoltaic field.
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New access to the site will be created, existing footpaths improved and new ones created. The site will also be landscaped and include indoor and outdoor public artwork.
Roads in the project will be “pedestrian and bicycle” friendly and an employee shuttle will operate. The new offices will be arranged around a central garden or courtyard, allowing them to enjoy views across Long Ashton.
The campus grounds will be open to the public and the development will be known as Epic Long Ashton. The office park will house 350 staff based in the south west with the company saying the site’s proximity to Bristol Airport was an “influencing factor” in choosing Long Ashton as a location.
An Epic spokesperson said: “After several years of developing its customer base in the UK, Epic has outgrown its existing spaces, which are rented from many different landlords. Epic is now looking to invest in its new UK campus, to ensure it has the right facilities.” needed for its future operations.
“The UK campus will serve customers in the UK, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and the Middle East. In order to provide customer support from the UK to Europe and the Middle East, it is important to have close links to an international airport.
“Proximity to Bristol Airport is an influential factor in choosing a location as well as the public transport network, including the rail network which provides good UK based links. This ability to travel quickly and economically for customers is important.
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One of the keys to Epic’s success is creating environments where its employees can achieve their best work. The location east of Long Ashton has many of the qualities that have contributed to the success of Verona’s headquarters – natural beauty, an economically active population, excellent schools and public transport, and easy access via multiple modes of transport.
“The site is large enough to support long-term growth that Epic doesn’t need to look elsewhere in the future, it’s home.” Currently, North Somerset Council, which will decide the plans, does not allow building in the green belt.