Chocolate firm gets go-ahead for Suffolk factory creating 220 jobs

GCB Cocoa have officially taken over the former Philips Avent factory in Glemsford. Pictured (left to right): Chris...

GCB Cocoa has been granted planning permission for its plans on the former Philip Avent factory. - Credit: Archant

A chocolate production company is to move forward with its plans for a factory in a Suffolk village which will see 220 jobs restored to the area. 

GCB Cocoa's vision for the former Philips Avent factory, in Glemsford, secured the support of Babergh District Council's chief planning officer - who gave the green light for the development on Thursday. 

The Malaysian-owned company had already taken ownership of the Lowrey Road site and has pledged to invest £62.2m into the plant. 

Councillor Steven Plumb, ward member for Glemsford, said: "I'm very pleased, it's going to bring employment. You can never do without more employment.

"There were certainly grandfathers, and fathers, sons and daughters and many other generations that worked there [at Philips Avent]. 

"We're not one of the prettiest villages but we are an industrial village and we are very proud of that.

"They will be supplying many of the big chocolate manufacturers from this site." 

He said the new factory was "a start" to replace some of the 425 jobs lost when the Philips Avent site closed.

Most Read

"It's a nice Christmas present," he added.

Plans were submitted to partly demolish and replace existing logistic spaces, and alter existing buildings to create a new production facility.

The plans also sought the construction of a new Waste Water treatment building, a new gatehouse and two weighbridge offices.

Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for economic growth Cllr Michael Holt said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to work with GCB to secure the necessary planning conditions and obligations and ensure that the Glemsford site remains a key employment location.

"Today’s green light signals the start of new era of multi-million pound investment and job creation for the local area, representing significant investment in Babergh and a major boost to our local economy.”

Babergh District Council's planning committee heard the proposals for the former Philips Avent site on October 6.

After securing 10 votes and one abstention, the committee voted to put the plans before the chief planning officer. 

GCB is principally involved in the manufacturing of cocoa-derived food ingredients, namely cocoa mass, cocoa butter, cocoa cake and cocoa powder.

Before being taken over by GCB Cocoa, the former Philip Avent site operated for 84 years as a baby bottle factory. 

Its closure in July 2020 created 425 job losses and concerns over a lack of employment in the area.