A NEW junction could be built on the M5 to provide a key link to Somerset’s new gigafactory.

Agratas, which is part of the Tata group, confirmed in late-February that it would be building its new £4bn gigafactory at the Gravity site between Puriton and Woolavington creating up to 4,000 new jobs.

Somerset Council committed in early-March to spend up to £150m on delivering the infrastructure needed to unlock this new development, funded through central government grants and the retention of business rates from the site.

The council has revealed more details of how this money will be invested, including the prospect of a new motorway junction and restoring a rail link into the site.

The Gravity locality investment plan came before the council’s executive committee in Taunton on Wednesday (June 5), and included a breakdown of where the £150m would be targeted.

Nearly half of this funding would be spent on “strategic site access and movement”, including the delivery of a “second road connection from Junction 22A” and a spine road running through the Gravity site.

The site is currently connected to the A39 Bath Road near Junction 23, following the delivery of a £10.3m link road in 2019.

But the council said that this road would not provide sufficient capacity to access the site, given the scale of production that would be undertaken once the new gigafactory is up and running.

A spokesman said: “The specification of this access road was based on the outline planning consent granted in 2017 and does not reflect the requirements or expectations for larger scale advanced manufacturing inward investment.

“Currently additional access requirements are likely to comprise of a new junction on the M5 (junction 22A) that would serve the site directly, as well as improvements to junction 23.

“Both schemes comprising of works to the strategic road network (SRN) would be funded via central government.

“The connection from junction 22A through the main site and connecting back to the Gravity access road would, however, be locally funded.

“This link road/internal spine road would provide both access to Gravity and wider public benefit, providing access between the A39 and the M5.”

The council has not yet specified a precise location for junction 22A, though it is likely to be south of the Huntspill River, providing the shortest route from the motorway to the Gravity site and minimising damage to both the key flood defence and the local nature reserve.

The Dunball roundabout, which links junction 23 to the A38 Bristol Road, will be upgraded into a ‘through-about’ within the coming 12 months, funded from both the Bridgwater town deal and the government’s levelling up fund.

The council is currently awaiting the result of a £6.4m bid to the DfT to upgrade the Edithmead roundabout at junction 22, as part of a wider programme of improvements.

Councillor Ros Wyke, portfolio holder for economic development, planning and assets, said: “This is a significant investment, not just in the short term but in the medium term for this council.”