Felixstowe: Huge new distribution centre gets go-ahead – 500 new full-time jobs promised
06:00 11 February 2014
Work on a new 11-acre warehouse could start this summer with the promise of 500 full-time jobs 18 months later.
Uniserve Holdings Ltd and landowners Trinity College, Cambridge, were yesterday given the go-ahead for the huge project – expected to cost more than £45million – which will change the skyline of Felixstowe.
The building, which will be 40 metres high, will be visible from around the area on land at Clicketts Hill, Trimley St Mary, alongside the A14 Port of Felixstowe Road.
It wil cover nearly 12 acres of the 26-acre site, and will be 396m long and 118m wide, and include a bottling operation, general merchandise, clothing distribution and e-fulfilment, and other operations depending on customers’ requirements and contracts gained.
John Gandy, property director for Uniserve, said it was hoped to start work this summer, complete the building a year later and be ready to begin operations six months after that.
He said it would be a huge bonus for the Port of Felixstowe, able to offer a port-centric operation – a “one-stop shop” for importing, repacking and distributing goods specifically to their destination – and helping the port to become more competitive, especially as new rivals London Gateway had a large logistics park.
Mr Gandy said: “Our aim is to start as soon as possible – this will bring significant jobs to the area and the quicker we build it, the quicker those jobs will come.”
Members of Suffolk Coastal’s south area development management sub committee welcomed the development, which planning officers said would help reverse the decline in Felixstowe’s fortunes.
Councillor Andy Smith said the distribution centre had “huge critical importance” especially when viewed against the development of London Gateway.
He said: “It’s a huge vote of confidence in the future of our port and hugely welcome. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the town, particularly about the type of jobs which will be much wider in scope than those traditionally available in port work.”
Jobs will include warehouse freight handlers, sorters and packers; forklift drivers and man-up truck operators; supervisors, team shift leaders, administrators; customer liaison, sales staff, accounts and managers; HR advisors; IT and warehouse management systems staff; HGV drivers and security officers.
Planning case officer Liz Beighton said the building was “unashamedly large” but it had been designed in a sympathetic way to minimise its impact on the skyline.