Last year, I went to Ross-on-Wye to persuade the family running Paragon Laundry to invest here, in Brympton. I believe that creating employment opportunities is an important thing for local authorities to do, whether it’s by allocating land, promoting the area, building industrial estates or, as in this case, lobbying. Letting entrepreneurs create jobs relieves the misery of unemployment and drives the economy forward.
Throughout the downturn, I made sure that SSDC was supporting start-ups and helping existing business to grow … but these are both slow ways to create new jobs so we set up Into Somerset to find successful businesses like Paragon wanting to re-locate. Into Somerset is an “inward investment” partnership set up between all the councils in Somerset. It promotes Somerset to business leaders wanting to re-locate.
Paragon will start operating in Yeovil this summer with around 80 jobs including operators, engineers, drivers, sales staff and management. With a capacity of up to 600,000 items a week, the laundry will initially service hotels from Peignton to Pool and from Bristol to Andover. Next year the second phase will bring more capacity introducing their prestige brands to service “boutique” hotels. Eventually, the operation could see as many as 200 people here in Yeovil, and possibly spin-off businesses in the immediate area.
… and yes, I did claim the mileage!