March 10 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, February 13, 2014
A £50million warehousing development that could create up to 500 new jobs in west Suffolk can go ahead after receiving planning permission.
Sudbury-based market support service firm Prolog already employs 400 people at its Milner Road premises, but the company’s bid to build two huge warehouses, offices and a service yard off Church Field Road was beset with delays.
The project was initially approved in May 2012 but concerns about the impact of the buildings on the local environment led to a list of conditions being attached to planning consent.
The development stalled and jobs were left in doubt after the company and Babergh District Council could not agree on the restrictions, which Prolog said would render the project “unviable”.
The firm, one of the area’s key employers, submitted a list of revised conditions specifying it should be allowed up to seven years to build the warehouses and only be required to occupy the buildings for 18 months after completion.
A revised application came back to the council last September and despite fierce opposition was once again given the green light subject to completion of a suitable planning agreement.
Lady Valerie Hart, who owns the nearby Grade II*-listed Chilton Hall, which is in view of the proposed buildings, told the council it could face costly legal proceedings if it backed the scheme.
She said the harm to buildings including Grade I-listed St Mary’s Church could not be outweighed by economic benefit, as there was “no guarantee of jobs” or of Prolog’s long term commitment to the scheme.
Despite this, the conditions have been agreed and full planning permission granted.
Simon Barrett, Babergh’s lead member for economic development, said the planning committee considered all the comments received.
“The conditions have been renegotiated and the planning committee has now agreed to them,” he added. “Planning permission for this key project is very much welcomed as it represents a real opportunity to create jobs in Sudbury, which would boost the local economy and contribute to the wellbeing of the town.
“There was a real fear that Prolog could relocate to the Midlands if they were not given an opportunity to expand.”
Sudbury mayor Adrian Osborne said the town would be expecting Prolog to honour the conditions and proceed with the development as soon as possible.
He added: “We are all hoping this development will stimulate growth, which is the main criteria on which the application was granted in the first place.
“Employment is a major concern for everyone in this financial climate and it is essential Prolog comes up with the new jobs - they promised them and we are expecting them to deliver.
“If it goes ahead quickly according to the conditions that have been imposed, it will be an asset for Sudbury.”
Prolog’s chairman Robert Audley has always maintained it is committed to the town in the long term.
Last night, no-one from Prolog was available to comment.