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Sugar beet factory purchase by Ipswich Council comes under fire – but inquiries take off

12:28 16 December 2014

David Ellesmere at the sugar beet site in Sproughton

David Ellesmere at the sugar beet site in Sproughton

Archant

Ipswich council is believed to have spent about £10 million on buying the former sugar beet factory site at Sproughton.

And it is thought it could cost another £8 million to complete necessary infrastructure work on the site – clearing contamination, building roads and installing utilities.

However borough leader David Ellesmere said there has been a great deal of interest in the beet factory site since its purchase was revealed last week.

The site is in Babergh District, just outside the borough, but has good links to the A14 and there is the potential of building a rail link into the main line.

Mr Ellesmere said: “I’ve had phone calls from businesses keen to talk about moving to the site – they started coming in on the day the article was published.”

The cost of the purchase remains confidential, but within the property community of Ipswich it is understood that the borough paid about £10 million for the site.

Mr Ellesmere said that the fact the borough was buying the site meant it did not need to be all developed at once.

He said: “If a private developer tries to do something with the site, they need a large ‘anchor tenant’ before any infrastructure work can be carried out.

“We can go ahead and do the infrastructure work on part of the site which makes that attractive for tenants who want to move straight in.”

The council’s purchase of the beet factory site continues to come under attack from opposition Conservative councillors.

Opposition leader Nadia Cenci felt the borough had paid too much for the site – and there was no guarantee that the authority, and council taxpayers, would get their money back.

Conservatives believe that with the upturn in the economy, the site would soon have been attractive to a private sector developer.

She said: “This is going to cost a great deal of money servicing the debt to purchase and develop the site and while we may get that back there is no guarantee of that.”

There is scepticism about the Labour administration’s claim that it acted to ensure Babergh Council does not give permission for the construction of a retail park which could threaten the town centre.

Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said that in the current economic climate there was no demand for new retail parks.

And Ms Cenci said: “The kind of retailers who might go there would not be interested in the town centre anyway, and I don’t think that would be a threat – but there’s no real prospect of that happening anyway.”

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27 comments

  • Ipswich has the potential to be great! what's holding it back is the resistance to progress. Take BT.. Ipswich has the research & dev site for one of the largest companies in the country to continue to be it needs to grow rapidly and encourage other Telco's to join. East Anglia especially the A12A14 is posittioned well, serviced by 4 close airports. 1 hour to London and 2 to the tunnel. Ok it needs improving but bringing in high tech companies, increases wages and everyones standard of living increases. Currently property in ipswich mirrors the midlands yet we've in the southeast. Property here is undervalued in my opinion. Ipswich isn't a dump it has the potential to be great given a chance.. quicker is better for me as I only have 10 years working life left. I don't want to be hungry and cold in my old age and my pensions not going to cover my keep

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Company Director

    Wednesday, December 17, 2014

  • Peter Turtill... perhaps people have the vision to improve an area when they move to it, not simply accept that it should stay as it is?

    Report this comment

    be36

    Wednesday, December 17, 2014

  • Ipswich Company Director why on earth did you move here and buy property and start companies if Ipswich is such a dump. Surely your knowledge of the A4 corridor and your research into the area would have warned you away. You did do research before moving here I take it? Thought not.

    Report this comment

    Peter Turtill

    Wednesday, December 17, 2014

  • I still believe this is the WRONG decision regardless of the comments below. The Council seem to hesitate over anything that makes Ipswich a better place yet can take on a big project like this without any hesitation or consultation with the voting public.The town planners make it as awkward as possible for any potential investors in this town with bureaucratic nonsense. The restrictions and planning laws can make or break you. The traditional annual CAMRA Beer Festival is no more, Broomhill is still laying dormant and the music venuenightclub in Duke Street had to close. The town centre could easily cope with a major facelift and if we had an agenda for recreation this town could easily attract more visitors and tourists. What happened to the proposed Ski Slope at Gt Blakenham ? What happened to the proposed Mint Quarter? Why is there a derelict car park doing nothing opposite the football ground and another area behind the Princess St Maltings that could be built on. Ipswich once again has to suffer because of bungling projects and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. The first view outside the train station does nothing to inspire visitors.The roads in Ipswich carve through anything nice and we need colossal investment to re-route some of these roads......like the waterfront motorways and the train station area. Perhaps our local politicians should campaign for some major re-structuring work in this town and perhaps we could finally link the town centre to the Waterfront. Its about time we made a BIG push to taking this town forward and not deplete our funds on pipe dreams outside the borough of Ipswich. Another economic melt-down will make this out of town site a dis used trading estate that does nothing for Ipswich. We should get Ipswich sorted out before commercial projects like this hoping that the private sector will come to the rescue. It is just another example of the decision makers doing as they please. The only thing that should be done with this land is to create a massive amusement park right next to the river with holiday chalets and an exciting theme park. Attract people to holiday in Suffolk.....if you can build a holiday park in Thetford then why not here.Then build an access road from Hadleigh Road to Sproughton Road. Ipswich is desperate for recreation. The music scene in Ipswich is dire and the council sits back and watches one music venue after another close down or one shop after another give up. Possibly this is because people from other nearby area don,t come to Ipswich. People from Ipswich go Shopping to StratfordLakesideNorwich and even Bury St Edmunds. Music goers go to a host of good live venues in Norwich. Now someone be honest and tell us what Ipswich has got besides taking photo,s of Ancient House and Christchurch Mansion. This town needs a massive kick up the A.. and building on a contaminated flood plain does nothing to excite me. Rant Over !!

    Report this comment

    chantry

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • Ideal location for an Ikea..... I wonder if they've been on the phone to Mr E

    Report this comment

    mmm

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • Driven Roundabend aka David Ellesmere or is it Alasdair Ross?! Whoever you are, you clearly don't have a clue... perhaps if you aren't a Labour councillor you should put yourself forwards, you would fit right in.

    Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • I think that photograph should be given a new heading "Look at what I bought you all for Xmas- an old sugar beet factory - bet no one else has got one of these".

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • Well done the Labour controlled IBC for this courageous and proactive decision. About time our local politicians did something for Ipswich instead of toadying up to the government, and lining their own nests. The Torys can only whine and whinge because they didn't have the foresight or gumption to do this when they were in power. Yes there is a recession but someone has to take some risk to promote jobs and business, otherwise our local economy will continue to stagnate. I never realised that my vote had a price, but this £18m purchase has secured my vote to the Labour Party in future elections.

    Report this comment

    Driven Roundabend

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • At least Ipswich Company Director is talking some sense. 'Industrial' doesn't have to mean warehousing, or poor quality offices.

    Report this comment

    be36

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • Lets hope the lands they buy are cleared & maintained instead of being left derelict & a total eyesore.Someone asked a man in Norwich where he could photograph a good supply of derelict buildings? They said Ipswich.

    Report this comment

    JC

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • I live in and own three properties in Ipswich.. I'm one of those guys that move in from another area. I'm SHOCKED at the lack of high tech businesses in Suffolk, say compared to the A4 Corridor. Ipswich needs to encourage high tech businesses and they need new high tech units (not offices). you guys NEED this otherwise you'll be back to low paid farming.. Whats wrong with progress and who cares which polical party does it as long as it happens

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Company Director

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • Anyone who thinks the local or national Labour are socialist clearly knows little about politics. It's been a generation since they had policies that could be described as 'loonie left' but it doesn't stop the tired old clichés.

    Report this comment

    Esco Fiasco

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • @deeber if you look back through the comments correlating to Mr Newman you will see I am far from being a fan!! Both IBC and SCC are completely sh!t In my opinion.. They all disgust me with their ill thought actions. And ref a distribution centre, it would be ideal to have an amazon or similar but I doubt this is gonna happen. I merely get the impression Labour IBC are on a spending spree to cause upset should they loose power next year.

    Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • I expect it will be linked to the river and have another wine rack built with masses of publicity and lobbyists telly us how wonderful it is with plenty of parades etc to get people down there. Have you noticed how the Dock seems to be dying. It is just an expensive marina now full of gin palaces belonging to companies set up to own them.

    Report this comment

    Peter Turtill

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • @rory.. no not a socialist ... I do not have extreme views.. my point is what do you do with a site like this if housing is not a viable option... let it rot ? I just think it's a great use of a strategic site as more parcels are going via the Internet ..A distribution site seems a wise choice.. I hope to see both public and private work together on this site ... and you avoided ans the question on mr newman.. who has a flawed Project !

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • Perhaps private investors were deterred by the cost of (a) buying and (b) clearing the site before ANY buildingdevelopment can be done. Not so IBC - they have tax payers money to play with.

    Report this comment

    Johnny

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • @deeber I would rather favour right wing politics than left wing lunacy. Perhaps if you're a socialist then of course you would support their actions; however socialist governments do not work.. Their strategies fail and it ends up costing the tax payer dear. Yes the site needs devloping, but if it was that much of a hot prospect why wasn't it snapped up years ago?

    Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • Great idea, lets build even more industrial units while dozens still lay empty on established industrial estates, firms will relocate to the new units leaving more empty but older units, why not create something nice for once, a park with tearooms, encorporate the river, a fishing lake, etc etc somewhere for us to breathe for a change instead of more traffic, more concrete etc. Regenerate the town we already have, look at Norwich road, Upper Orwell street they could all do with something spent on them.

    Report this comment

    C Smith

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • Calm down Rory the tory... or you will blow a fuse...How can you call it a flawed Project? It is an industrial site .. and as a property developer myself in the past it's not attractive as a housing project as say the northern fringe mainly because house prices reach top money there.. so as Esco has stated the units will soon fill up with second hand traffic lights. What's your view Rory on mr newman then ?

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • Also, she doesn't mention that this so called recovery is entirely credit based and she lauds that. Crazy given what we went through from 2008, it just means we will have an even bigger fall coming soon given that wages are stagnant and there is no one left to collect taxes any more.

    Report this comment

    Esco Fiasco

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • Rather hypocritical of Ms Cenci when the Tories have just wasted £25m bringing the traffic in Ipswich to a standstill. This land will have some value even if the scheme fails, all Ipswich has to show for Newman's Folly will be second hand traffic lights.

    Report this comment

    Esco Fiasco

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • In 10 years the private sector has done nothing to bring this site into use. How much longer do the Tories think they need? SCC are supposed to bring vision and strategy for the area. IBC seem to have the right idea. The not travel Ipswich money could have been better spent on a scheme such as this rather than creating the disruption caused.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • One other point, the cost of purchase confidential? We I for one being a resident of Ipswich and now a stake holder in this already flawed project want to know how much I and others have got to pay back? This is almost Gordon Brown esque, standing there with a stupid grin on his face. Good job Ellesmere can't touch gold reserves or pension pots.

    Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • I think this is perfect A14A12 If I had the money myself I would have bought it. I personally would have created an East Anglia Alton Towers andor the Industrial park.. We don't need more retail, we need real business's.. Well done Ipswich Council.. I'm usually not a fan of Council's but on this occasion I think you've onto a winner and if you sell them freehold I'll be buying a unit

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Company Director

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • So the deal has been done? Another example of zero consulration with the public. We own this now did we want it? And now there's a loan taken out we have to repay it or risk loosing public services? Good old Spend, Borrow, Tax Labour.. They never have been the most financially astute bunch. Please vote them out Ipswich!

    Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • Where are they getting all this money? It seems every time there is some crappy site that any investor could snap up, they do so. It's like IbC is being run by a bunch of market stall entrepreneurs always chasing an easy buck that never comes. Of course these sites need developing, but whilst parts of the town further fall into decline, they should be focused on them. How about buying up and bulldozing Carr Street so it can be regenerated? What about the derelict sites they already own!?

    Report this comment

    Sentinel Red

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

  • Ms cenci has stated she feels that this site is not good value for money.. When complete a total of about £18 million ... valuable jobs and a great use of a site that's been redundant for 10 years ! So could she now give her views on the tory transport chap mr newmans waste of £20 million on some traffic lights in the town that's turning hundreds of people away. ...Happy Xmas to all fellow readers.

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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