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Bridgwater’s £16 million leisure regeneration project in the town centre has celebrated another major milestone in its construction.

Sedgemoor District Council and main contractor Willmott Dixon held a topping out ceremony to celebrate the final steelwork being installed at the highest point of the structure on the site ahead of its planned opening in Autumn 2022. Guests and children from the adjacent Northgate Primary School took to some of the steel beams with pens to sign their names to mark the occasion. In reference to a 14th century building tradition in Northern Europe, a small yew tree was taken to the top of the building for the ceremony and will be planted in the redeveloped Brewery Field later.

Cllr Alan Bradford, Cllr Gill Slocombe, Cllr Mark Healey MBE and Cllr Brian Smedley with the Topping Out ceremonial yew tree. In line with the old ‘Topping Out’ tradition, a small yew tree was taken to the top of the building for the ceremony and after being sprinkled with wine, oil, corn and salt, representing fertility, liberty, growth and purity, the tree will be planted in the redeveloped Brewery Field later.

Reaching a total height of 41.8ft, the last piece of steel was secured on the roof of the 40,000 sq. ft scheme which will be boasting a state of the art 7-screen cinema operated by WTW Scott Cinema, an 8-lane bowling alley and sports bar operated by Allstars. The development will also feature 12,000 sq. ft of flexible restaurant space in five restaurant units with outdoor dining areas, available for local, regional and national food and drink brands.

Commenting on this significant moment, Cllr Alan Bradford, Chairman of Sedgemoor District Council, said; “Northgate Yard is a huge investment in the town centre and is set to be a landmark destination for both locals and tourists. We’re delighted that so much progress has been made on the construction and that we’re already at such a landmark stage in the build – it won’t be long before we’ll all be enjoying the leisure and entertainment facilities that will be on offer.” 

Rob Woolcock, Director at Willmott Dixon said; “The topping out ceremony marks a key stage in the construction of Northgate Yard, and we’re delighted to be working with Sedgemoor District Council to deliver this landmark project.   We are committed to leaving a positive legacy in the communities where we build, so it was great to have the pupils from Northgate Primary School at the ceremony to sign the steel and be a part of this exciting development.” 

Michael Mackey, Willmott Dixon; Cllr Gill Slocombe, Sedgemoor District Council; Cllr Alan Bradford, Chairman, Sedgemoor District Council; Cllr Mark Healey MBE, Sedgemoor District Council; Mark Williams, Scott Cinema; Cllr Kathy Pearce, Sedgemoor District Council; Doug Bamsey, Sedgemoor District Council and Rob Woolcock, Willmott Dixon

The scheme will also feature outdoor meeting places and landscaping. The adjacent green space, Brewery Field, will be improved and updated to feature an outdoor children’s play area and parkland with a pond and landscaped planting.

Northgate Yard is the culmination of many years of planning for a central entertainment and dining hub for Bridgwater. Led by Sedgemoor District Council, Northgate Yard has been conceived with the local community and local economy at its heart. The Council have worked closely with the community to create and deliver a vision reflecting what the people of Bridgwater want to see. Widespread public support means the much-anticipated development will become a destination for the local community and visitors.