Not The Biggest Hotel In Europe


20190215Emma Britton has always lived in the shadow of nuclear power.

Her hometown of Bridgwater is ten miles from Hinkley Power station. As a child her Mum told her "don't worry about Hinkley, if it goes up you won't know a thing about it". Today she's a breakfast presenter on the BBC in the South West, "I reckon I've done more phone-ins on Hinkley C than anything else". But, despite the controversy, the third station got the go-ahead from Theresa May late in 2016 - and, over the past two years, her town has started to change.

At its peak, EDF Energy say there will be 5,600 workers on the construction site itself - and it's expected that 20,000 jobs will be created from the knock-on. There's been a surge of investment in the town, and there's a massive demand for accommodation.

Just round the corner from Emma's house is the old cellophane factory site.

Bridgwater used to be known for stinking of rotten eggs, because of the smell given off by the cellophane factory. And everyone in Bridgwater knew someone, or was someone who worked there. The factory shut in 2005 but, from 2016, that iconic site began to transform into accommodation for the people who will be working on Hinkley.

EDF say it will be the "second largest hotel in Europe after Disneyland". It'll provide accommodation for 1500 workers between two sites. The larger campus, on the cellophane factory site, is expected to house 1000 people. At the beginning of 2018, the rooms came, ready built, on the back of lorries.

It's three minute's walk from Emma's front door. This is the story Emma's neighbourhood - and what happened when the new "hotel" began to arrive.

Produced in Bristol by Polly Weston

Hinkley power station gets the green light, and then the workers' accommodation goes up.