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Celebrated Suffolk cider maker's £10m upgrade plans get green light

PUBLISHED: 15:09 16 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:07 16 January 2019

Aspall's cider plant at Debenham, which is to get a major upgrade  Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Aspall's cider plant at Debenham, which is to get a major upgrade Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Plans for a £10m upgrade of a celebrated Suffolk cider plant have been given the thumbs up by councillors.

Aspall owners Molson Coors described it as “great news” as its proposals to improve efficiencies at the plant were given the green light, subject to conditions, by Mid Suffolk district councillors.

It wants to add a process building, loading bay canopy and sub-station, relocate storage tanks and add new concrete pads at the factory at Aspall, near Debenham.

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Objections to the plans, considered by Mid Suffolk Council’s development control committee at its meeting on Wednesday, January 16, mainly centred around potential pollution concerns, traffic and visual amenity.

Aspall general manager Dale Scott Picture: SARAH CHAMBERSAspall general manager Dale Scott Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

Planners recommended approval - subject to various conditions, including on construction works hours and a landscaping scheme.

Molson Coors acquired the iconic family-run business in January 2018, keeping on eighth generation brothers Barry and Henry Chevallier Guild as brand ambassadors.

A few months later, the American drinks giant unveiled its multi-million pound plans to improve efficiencies at the plant to villagers at a meeting held in Debenham, as it underlined its commitment to keeping the plant at its historic Suffolk home.

Aspall general manager Dale Scott said: “The approval we’ve had from the planning committee today is great news for the future of Aspall. The proposed development, set within the existing footprint of the site, respects the brand heritage and the community our business serves.

Henry Chevallier Guild, Aspall general manager Dale Scott, Molson Coors managing director Philip Whitehead and Barry Chevallier Guild at Debenham in 2018 when they unveiled their multimillion pound plans for the site  Picture: SARAH CHAMBERSHenry Chevallier Guild, Aspall general manager Dale Scott, Molson Coors managing director Philip Whitehead and Barry Chevallier Guild at Debenham in 2018 when they unveiled their multimillion pound plans for the site Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

“We’re taking on board the feedback from today’s meeting. As we modernise the facilities over the next three years, we’ll continue to listen carefully to the views of the local community and share updates on our plans. At Aspall, we’re committed to investing to create a sustainable future for the business and secure local jobs.”

He added: “Throughout the planning process we were determined to respond to the local community and put forward a proposal that brought social and economic benefits, while respecting the unique environment our business operates in.

“We’ve built plans that will reduce traffic and visual impact, which were the key areas of interest heard in today’s planning committee meeting.”

The factory lies next to grade II* Listed Aspall Hall, which is still occupied by the family.

Apples heading into Aspall's apple press plant  Picture: MARTIN CHAMBERSApples heading into Aspall's apple press plant Picture: MARTIN CHAMBERS

Molson Coors said new jobs would be created and more cider made as a result of the scheme, while reducing traffic by about a fifth. The three-year plan to modernise facilities within the existing footprint of the site is aimed at creating a sustainable future for the business, Aspall said.

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