Owner of fruit juice business Copella unveils plans for expansion at Boxford site near Sudbury

Apples at the Copella juice factory at Boxford

Apples at the Copella juice factory at Boxford - Credit: Archant

Drinks group Konings has unveiled plans to expand capacity at the Copella fruit juice site near Sudbury, potentially creating more than 100 new jobs.

Konings, which is based in Belgium, acquired the plant and other assets on the Boxford site a year ago from PepsiCo, along with a long-term deal to continue manufacturing Copella products.

According to Konings, more than a third of its production in mainland Europe is already sold in Britain and it now plans to create a substantial UK manufacturing base, including new production lines for cans and plastic bottles, plus an area for cider processing.

It says the 10-year, £35m project to increase capacity at the Brick Kiln Hill site will not only secure the future of the 90 jobs currently based there but will also create 116 new roles and generate an additional £3.7m in income.

In the first of what is says will be a monthly series of newsletters, Konings has acknowledged potential concerns about traffic, noise and light pollution but says it will liaise with local communities.

“As a long-standing good neighbour, we are aware of the importance of balancing what happens on our site and the highways linking to it and our wider responsibilities to the local communities,” it says.

“We are developing an Environmental Impact Assessment in consultation with Babergh District Council and through the very many meetings we are currently attending with local parish councils, other representatives and local neighbours. This will show how we will keep noise, light and other issues to an absolute minimum.”

Most Read

Chairman of Leavenheath Parish Council, Barbara Rowe said: “They [Konings] has been generous with their time and have made presentations to local parish councils and groups of local people but our concern continues to be around the amount of traffic that would leave the A134 and go along Stoke Road to the factory entrance as that is a residential area.”

Konings says it expects a planning application to be considered by Babergh District Council during the autumn.

Copella was founded by the late Devora Peake, whose family still grows fruit in the Boxford area, and in 1989 famously featured in the Troubleshooter reality TV show. The juice business was sold in 1998 to Tropicana which was in turn acquired by PepsiCo later the same year.