Chamber of commerce throws its weight behind Prolog application
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Business leaders have backed plans for a £50million warehousing development which are due to be resubmitted to the local council after planning permission was overturned by a High Court judge.
Members of Sudbury Chamber of Commerce have criticised protestors for causing unnecessary delays to logistics firm Prolog’s scheme, which could provide up to 500 new jobs at two huge warehouses in Church Field Road.
Last February after a three-year battle, Prolog finally gained permission to go ahead with its expansion plans. But objectors, including Lady Hart of Grade II listed Chilton Hall, launched a challenge against the scheme in the High Court via a judicial review, which saw the application quashed on a technicality.
The proposal is expected to return to Babergh’s planning committee in the near future, but Lady Hart has reiterated concerns that the site is unsuitable for a huge warehousing and distribution centre operating 24/7 with lorry traffic.
Her views are not shared by members of the chamber of commerce, who at a recent meeting expressed disappointment at the “further setback” to the progress of Prolog’s plans.
Chairman Chris Storey said: “There are many jobs at stake within Prolog and the company is offering significant investment that will secure their future interest in the town as well as supporting existing jobs. They should be allowed to proceed.”
Chamber president John McMillan said Prolog chairman Robert Audley had told the group how the company valued Sudbury as a great place to work but needed to keep the business competitive by offering services that customers required.
Mr MacMillan said: “Prolog can build at Church Field Road or take their jobs to another part of the country that will show more rapid acceptance for them. We hope that they will continue to support Sudbury despite this setback.”
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One of the protestors’ arguments is that the warehouses will impact on views of the 15th Century St Mary’s Church - and those from Chilton Hall.
But according to Mr MacMillan, Church Field Road was planned more than 20 years ago to accommodate industry with the road designed to take heavy goods vehicles.
He added: “Landscape screening was installed around the Prolog site – some about 15 years ago - so that this is far more established than might have been the case for new industrial development on the fringes of other towns.
“Business has to take significant risks in investing large sums in development to meet their customers’ needs. What they do not need is argument against long established principals many years after first plans are agreed and principles established.”
Meanwhile Lady Hart said the facts surrounding the application had changed.
“The council needs to ensure that the application is based on accurate and up to date information,” she added.