Borough backed as consultation starts

Simon Barrett, David Ellesmere, Nick Ridley, and Jennie Jenkins at the Sproughton sugar beet factory

Simon Barrett, David Ellesmere, Nick Ridley, and Jennie Jenkins at the Sproughton sugar beet factory, - Credit: Archant

Ipswich council’s consultation proposal over the redevelopment of the former sugar beet factory on the edge of town has got the backing of the neighbouring authority.

The 130-acre site was bought by the borough at the end of last year for about £10.6 million – although the cost of building roads and bringing services to the site could push the total cost up to £18 million.

However the land itself is in the neighbouring Babergh district – and it is earmarked for commercial development by the Hadleigh-based authority.

Previous attempts by developers to get permission to build homes on the site have been rejected by planners, rejections that have been upheld on appeal.

Earlier this month Ipswich council started the process of producing a masterplan for the development of the site – it has gone out to tender looking for a consultancy to draw up a proposal for a business park there.

That move has been backed by Babergh, and led senior councillors to visit the site to find out about the plans.

Babergh leader Jennie Jenkins was joined by portfolio holder for the local economy Simon Barrett and council chairman Nick Ridley, whose ward includes the site.

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Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said it was one of the most important strategic sites in Suffolk and enjoyed excellent access via the A14. It is also close to existing employment areas at Boss Hall and Farthing Road.

He said the borough would be working closely with Babergh to draw up a development plan to bring new life to a site that has been empty since British Sugar closed the factory more than 13 years ago.

Mr Barrett said: “It is the borough’s site and they are getting the masterplan drawn up. But it is good that they have got the bit between their teeth and are getting on with this – and good that they are involving us, as the planning authority, at this early stage of the proposal.”

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