'Important moment' as council considers proposals for giant A14 business site
- Credit: Sealand
Plans for a huge employment site off the A14 at Stowmarket have been submitted to planners.
Mid Suffolk District Council-owned Gateway 14 and private developers Jaynic want to build a 2.45m sq ft business, warehousing and industrial on a 42 acre site site off Junction 50 of the A14.
The Gateway 14 scheme - which is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the town - follows a public consultation in autumn 2020.
The "hybrid" application comprises infrastructure and landscaping details - with outline plans for plots and a sample layout for 2.45m sq ft of mixed use buildings which will involve a mixture of bespoke and speculative projects. It also includes plans for a "biodiversity zone".
The scheme has attracted some controversy with opponents fearing it will prove too costly to taxpayers and could become a white elephant.
The council has spent almost £20m since 2018 on acquiring the land and preparing it for use - and a further £17m has been earmarked by the council to pay for infrastructure on the site.
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But chairman of Gateway 14 Sir Christopher Haworth said it was "an important moment" for the project and for the town.
“It is a big step forward in the delivery of jobs for the area and will bring huge benefit from the very significant investment that these new buildings will deliver, from a range of occupiers. I hope that these proposals will be fully supported by the local community,” he said.
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Leader of Mid Suffolk District Council Suzie Morley described it as "an exciting opportunity" for the town and the wider Mid Suffolk region.
“The Gateway 14 development has the potential to attract a range of businesses to the region, creating jobs for the community and providing a boost for the local economy,” she said.
Ben Oughton, development director for Jaynic, said: “We believe this scheme will be a great asset providing hundreds of jobs in the region on this important trunk road between the UK motorway network and the major ferry port of Felixstowe. We already have significant interest from companies wanting space at G14."
Jaynic - which is behind a number of projects in the region - said it was hoping to appoint contractors to start on site in June to build the estate's road infrastructure, services and landscaping and said the first buildings could be delivered by early 2022.
Those behind the Gateway 14 scheme believe it bridges the gap between the Midlands and the Port of Felixstowe - one of Europe’s largest and busiest container ports, opening gateways to business.
The 42 acre site has designated enterprise zone and food Enterprise status with incentives including business rates relief of up to £275,000 over five years.
Agents for the scheme are Savills and Avison Young.