More than 200 jobs on the way to Ipswich with beet site plans submitted
- Credit: Archant
A major boost for north west Ipswich is on the cards with more than 200 new jobs set to be created over the next few years.
The first new development on the former sugar beet factory next to the borough boundary at Sproughton is set to be a distribution centre for multi-national food company LDH Ladoria.
That supplies many of the best-known brands in supermarkets across the country, including Cook Italia, Bonduelle canned vegetables, Glenryck tinned fish, Summer Pride canned fruit, and Mrs Ball’s chutney.
It will create 120 jobs when it starts operating – and could eventually expand further. A planning application for the development has been lodged with Babergh District Council and is expected to be discussed by planners during the spring.
Meanwhile the former Billington’s factory at Europa Way has been bought by Ipswich Borough Assets (IBA) – the property company owned by the borough council – for £3.5million.
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Now renamed Europa House, a tenant is expected to be unveiled for the site during the spring with a plan that could eventually create a further 100 jobs.
The site could potentially be expanded because the borough owns an area of land behind Europa House bordered by the A14, the Great Eastern rail line, and Bramford Road.
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It had considered building council houses on this site, but the noise from the roads and the railway line meant that was not possible – so it could now become industrial land.
LDH currently has premises at the Port of Felixstowe – but in its planning application it says it needs a new, larger site to cope with its planned growth over the next few years.
The excellent link to the A14 makes the Sproughton site ideal for its needs.
The warehouse would be staffed by three shifts a day and would have an overall floorspace of just over 24,000 square metres.
Although the two sites are ultimately both owned by Ipswich council, the structure is different. The borough council itself owns the former sugar beet site while its IBA subsidiary owns Europa House.
Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said the borough owned property that still needed to be developed while IBA owned property held as an investment to produce a regular income.
Anglia Retail Park now part of Ipswich council’s property portfolio
Ipswich Borough Council’s property shopping list after borrowing £56million for new purchases can now be revealed.
The council-owned property company Ipswich Borough Assets (IBA) has bought the Anglia Retail Park off Bury Road for £42m.
It has also bought the Burtons’ store on the Cornhill for just over £3m, and the former Billington’s plant in Europa Way for £3.5m.
They have added this portfolio to the new headquarters for law firm Birketts which is nearing completion in Princes Street at a cost of £12.5m and Portman House, the home of Archant – publishers of the Ipswich Star and EADT, for £2.15m.
The borough is able to borrow money from the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB) at an interest rate of between 2.1% and 2.5% fixed for 20 years.
By working with IBA it is able to use money generated by rents from tenants to replace some of the government grant money that has been cut by Whitehall in recent years.
Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said the IBA property deals were providing the authority with an income of about £1.8m a year.
He said: “Between 2010 and this year we have come down from a government grant of £12m to just £3m. If we didn’t look at ways of replacing some of that there would have been very serious cuts.
“This income will finance the borough’s waste collection service for a year and pay for our sports facilities, so it is very important to us.”
The rent from the Burton’s store – whose previous owner was Kent County Council – was enough to pay for the purchase and running costs of the council’s new homeless families unit.
However opposition leader Ian Fisher was concerned about the purchases: “I had heard about the Anglia Retail Park deal and I am not sure it is wise to put so much money into property deals.
“I understand that the owners of that retail park had been trying to sell it for some time before the borough council came along. I know it has been developed recently but we do have serious questions to ask about this strategy.”
Councillors were briefed about IBA’s purchases on Monday evening – the deal to buy the Anglia Retail Park had been negotiated for several months before it was finalised just after the festive holiday period.