WORLD famous jam makers Wilkin & Sons has formally submitted multi-million pound plans for a new factory and more than 200 homes in Tiptree.

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Four applications, including a state-of-the-art £25million factory, treatment plant and 244 new homes, have been lodged with Colchester Borough Council. If approved, work on the factory could begin later this year.

The move comes after a government inspector ruled the Tiptree Jam Factory Plan as “sound” in December.

Wilkin & Sons has been making preserves in Tiptree for the last 126 years but recent growth has meant the business is now too big for its current factory.

It is hoped the new plans will secure the future of the business and its 220-strong workforce until at least 2030.

The current factory site and fields nearby would be sold to developers to build the new houses.

The company, which holds a Royal Warrant and supplies preserves to more than 70 countries worldwide, says it needs to be able to do this to fund the factory expansion.

The new factory will be built in two stages. The first will include production and storage areas and new offices totalling 8,500m2, while later modules will increase the factory area to around 13,000m2.

The floor of the new factory will, in places, be up to six metres below current ground level. Wilkin & Sons say the scheme will include earth banks and tree planting to reduce the visual impact on the surrounding countryside.

Other details of the applications include provision for allotments, recreation space and woodland.

Land has also been set aside for a dental surgery on Factory Hill and improvements to road and cycle paths.

Two public consultations have found the majority of people in the area are in favour of the development.

A spokesman for Wilkin & Sons said: “A high level of public involvement throughout has ensured our plans will already be familiar to villagers.

“This is an exciting time but we need to ensure we don’t overstretch the business and that we honour our commitments to all.”

He added: “If the applications are approved, work on the factory could begin later in 2013 and will be completed in stages but is unlikely to be operational before 2015.”

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