Revised plans to expand Boxford Copella plant get thumbs up
PUBLISHED: 12:34 20 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:35 20 February 2019
Owners of the Copella juice factory at Boxford have hailed a council decision to back their controversial revised plans to expand it as “good news” for growing businesses in the district as they battle it out in a tough market.
Phil Clark, site lead at Konings UK, welcomed Babergh planning committee’s decision to back its £4m plans, which include a 15m high building of more than 2,000sq m and extra car parking.
“This is good news for Konings staff, their families, our local supply chain and indeed for the reputation of south Suffolk as a place that understands and supports growing businesses,” he said.
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“This small height addition, on top of our existing planning approvals, will allow us to maximise our productive capacity and so remain competitive in a tough market.”
The drinks manufacturer withdrew a planning application to develop the 5.5-acre site on Brick Kiln Hill into a 19-acre base in June last year.
The £35m project faced criticism from villagers with concerns over the impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and increased traffic in the area.
The company submitted new plans for the site, including the 15m high building, which were again opposed by parish councils and villagers on similar grounds.
Babergh District Council recommended approval of the application, ahead of a planning committee meeting at Endeavour House in Ipswich on Wednesday, February 20.
A statement from Polstead Parish Council said: “The proposed industrial building at 15m high would appear visually intrusive, appearing dominant against the skyline and would not be sympathetic to the character or landscape quality of the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley AONB.”
Natural England said it objected on the grounds that “the proposal would add additional industrial buildings which would be significantly taller” than others at the complex.
It also said the proposed extension would break the skyline, and cannot be effectively screened because of its height.
Councillor Peter Beer, chairman of Babergh District Council’s planning committee, said: “The location, landscape and safeguarding of jobs in the district all combined to make this decision one that had to balance a great many factors. After long debate, the committee concluded that, with the appropriate conditions on the height and colouring of the new buildings, the benefits these proposals could bring outweigh the potential impacts and so voted to grant planning permission.”