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Sudbury: Prolog committed to providing jobs

PUBLISHED: 08:58 27 May 2014 | UPDATED: 08:58 27 May 2014

The site in Church Field Road in Sudbury.

The site in Church Field Road in Sudbury.

A logistics firm has renewed its commitment to provide up to 500 new jobs at a proposed £50million development in west Suffolk - despite a judicial review into its plans.

After a three-year battle, Prolog recently gained permission to expand by building two huge warehouses on the outskirts of Sudbury in Church Field Road.

But an application to take legal action against the proposal was submitted and has now received the backing of the High Court.

Under the ruling, objectors including Lord and Lady Hart of Grade II listed Chilton Hall, now have permission to challenge the proposals on nine grounds.

Conditions attached to planning consent granted by Babergh District Council would enable Prolog to sell both warehouses after 18 months without occupying them. Those opposed to the scheme believe the company could walk away from the buildings without creating any jobs.

But last night, Prolog chairman Robert Audley told the EADT the company had no intention of abandoning Sudbury, where it has operated for more than 20 years and already employs around 400 people at its current premises.

He said: “The suggestion that we will sell the buildings and walk away is ludicrous. We have bought the freehold to our headquarters building here in Sudbury and have made expensive improvements to it. We have also renewed a 10 year lease on our Milner Road property.”

Mr Audley said he operated marketing services and logistics and was not a property developer.

He continued: “We occupy all of the buildings we have developed in the East Midlands and would do the same here – we have never developed anything to make it available for someone else and have no intention of doing so.

“We remain entirely committed to the Sudbury area and we will be relentlessly persistent in our bid to get the buildings up and occupied.”

Objectors believe Babergh was wrong to back the development because of the harm it could do to the Grade I listed St Mary’s Church, and Chilton Hall.

But Mr Audley believes modern buildings can sit well alongside heritage buildings and countryside - such as the recent £1.3 million extension to the medieval church at Clare Priory.

He added: “I really like big buildings that have been nicely done and I believe it is possible to keep our heritage and countryside at the same time as moving forward. We need to embrace the idea of getting the old and the new working together.”

Lady Hart applied to take legal action because she believes “grave errors” occurred in the handling of the case.

A spokeswoman for Babergh said its decision to grant planning permission for the Prolog development was lawful, and it would defend the decision robustly.

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