December 11 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 13, 2013
Two drop-in sessions are planned in September for people to find out more about a £30million project which will create around 230 jobs and turn Suffolk into one of the country’s major tomato producers.
Sterling Suffolk plans to build two commercial greenhouses on land next to the B1113 between Great Blakenham and Bramford.
They would cover an area of nearly 50 acres and would produce 7,500 tonnes of tomatoes a year – helping to meet the huge demand for locally-grown produce.
The year-round operation hopes to boost the local economy – providing jobs on site as well as spin-off benefits for a variety of local businesses.
Those behind it also say it will have major environmental benefits, including greatly reduced food miles. Currently 83% of the tomatoes eaten in the UK are imported from as far afield as Morocco, Israel, Egypt and Turkey.
Michael Blakenham, from Sterling Suffolk, explained: “We have already had several meetings with residents living closest to the project, but as we will be submitting a planning application soon, we felt the time had come to broaden the circle and seek views from a wider range of local people.”
The drop-in sessions are on Wednesday, September 18 from 4pm to 8pm at Bramford Church Room (park next to the village hall and the church room is at the end of the car park) and Thursday, September 19 from 10am to noon and 6pm to 8pm at Little Blakenham Village Hall.
If the project is given approval, work is likely to start by spring 2014 and the first British tomatoes from Sterling Suffolk could be on retailers’ shelves by summer 2015
The plan is to heat the greenhouses using surplus heat from the energy-from-waste facility currently being built at Great Blakenham. The energy-from-waste facility, a joint venture between Suffolk County Council and SITA UK, will put Suffolk’s waste into electricity for the National Grid.