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Baby bottles factory site goes up for sale as production draws to a close

PUBLISHED: 10:06 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:06 04 December 2019

The Philips Avent factory in Glemsford, which has been offered up for sale  Picture: PHIL MORLEY

The Philips Avent factory in Glemsford, which has been offered up for sale Picture: PHIL MORLEY

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The site of a baby bottles firm set to close with the loss of 430 jobs has been put up for sale.

Baby bottles on the production line at Philips Avent  Picture: PHIL MORLEYBaby bottles on the production line at Philips Avent Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Philips Avent's decision to shut its factory at Sudbury in 2020 was described earlier this year as a major blow to the area.

The company is set to move the majority of its operations from the Suffolk plant to its innovation and manufacturing site in Drachten in the Netherlands, with the remainder going to Indonesia.

The 18 acre Suffolk site, which lies on the outskirts of the village of Glemsford, includes more than 300,000sq ft of industrial space and 324 parking spaces.

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It is being offered up for sale or to let through agents Savills for an undisclosed amount.

The factory floor of the Philips Avent facility  Picture: PHIL MORLEYThe factory floor of the Philips Avent facility Picture: PHIL MORLEY

A taskforce was set up to look at the future of the site and its employees after the company's decision, and met with Philips UK's chief executive Neil Mesher in March.

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He said a leaflet would be produced to promote the site for potential inward investment opportunities around UK embassies overseas.

He added at the time that it was "disappointing" they were not continuing at the site, but said they were focused on supporting affected employees and finding a buyer for the site "so the plant can continue to deliver economic and employment value to the area". 
A Philips spokeswoman said of the sale: "Philips is focused on two vital outcomes: supporting our affected employees in the most constructive way possible and finding an industrial buyer for the site so the plant can continue to deliver economic and employment value to the area.

"We will continue working with the South Suffolk Taskforce and other organisations who have offered help in making these important outcomes happen and to deliver these future programmes in the right way and at the right time. Production at Glemsford will end in 2020."

The site is described by Savills as having "a long-standing association with industrial uses dating back to prior to the 1950s when English Flax Ltd occupied buildings on site for textile production".

Since then it has been extensively redeveloped, with most of the original buildings replaced to provide a modern production and warehousing facility. Its rateable value is believed to be £755k.

Conservative parliamentary candidate for South Suffolk, James Cartlidge, who was chair of the South Suffolk Task Force for the site before the general election was called, said he hoped the sale would lead to new employment opportunities at the site.

"Obviously, it was disappointing when they announced the closure," he said. "Now it's going to come to market hopefully we are going to find a purchaser who can continue employment on the site and support the local economy."

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