Developers Robert Hitchins Ltd and Harrow Estates plc have welcomed the announcement by Highways England that construction of the new M49 motorway junction, which will open up 300 acres of employment land in Avonmouth, will start in earnest in spring.

Highways England has awarded the construction contract to Galliford Try and preparatory work begins this week.

The new junction, south of the Western Approach Distribution Park and west of Easter Compton, will open up the neighbouring 296-acre Westgate Business Park site, owned by joint venture partners Robert Hitchins Ltd and Harrow Estates plc.

“It is a very welcome investment by Highways England which will open up Severnside and Avonmouth to significant economic activity and lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs,” said Simon Tothill, Property and Development Director for Robert Hitchins Ltd.

"We have been working alongside Highways England to provide the land necessary to enable the junction to go ahead and we look forward to delivering future employment opportunities".

“It will change the profile of Westgate dramatically and unlock a large and incredibly well-located site, which already benefits from planning permission, for employment uses.”

Westgate is in a major strategic location next to the M49 which links Bristol and the South West to Wales and provides access to the M5 and M4 motorways. It is also close to Bristol Airport and the expanding Avonmouth and Portbury Docks.

A spokesman for Highways England said: “We recognise the strategic importance of the Avonmouth and Severnside Enterprise Area as a key regional employment site and this new junction will help unlock economic growth in the area.”

The land is capable of providing more than 4 million sq ft of employment accommodation and has an implementable planning permission for a number of uses including offices, R&D, storage and distribution, and industrial and warehouse use, the development of which will create may thousands of new jobs.

Robert Hitchins Ltd, based at Boddington, Gloucestershire, is one of the leading property developers and investors in the South West and South Wales. It deals with the full process from site acquisition and planning through to development and investment.

Harrow Estates is a Master Development Company providing expertise in planning promotion, masterplanning and site delivery with previous projects ranging from contaminated industrial sites to greenfield urban extensions and the promotion and phased delivery of strategic new settlements.