Lorry worries over plans to replace factory destroyed in devastating fire

Robert Chapman captured this picture of the incident at Parham

EADT reader Robert Chapman captured the scene at the fire in August 2020 - Credit: ROBERT CHAPMAN

Villagers have voiced concerns over a potential increase in lorries travelling through their community if plans for a new factory are agreed.

East Suffolk Council has received proposals for a new building to replace that lost in a devastating blaze at Hatcher Components' fibreglass mouldings premises at Silverlace Green, Parham, in August 2020.

Fifty firefighters tackled the incident after witnesses reported seeing explosions and a huge pall of smoke drifting across the countryside.

Now Hatcher Components Ltd, manufacturers of products for the commercial vehicle industry, and part of the Betts Group of companies, has asked the district council for consent to replace the factory and storage centre with similar-sized premises on the site, which has now been cleared.

Parham Parish Council though is concerned that the village could be affected by both construction traffic and ongoing lorry movements as finished products are taken from the factory to its base in Framlingham via Hall Hill, Parham.

The parish council said: "It is noted that an extra 20 staff are likely to be needed at the factory which will significantly increase production and therefore lorry numbers, which were already high with the previous sized site.

"The parish council would like to see a traffic management plan imposed to limit lorry movements through Parham village and up Hall Hill, similar to the restrictions that were in place at the nearby composting plant."

In documents submitted to the council, the firm, which employs 57 people in Framlingham, said the Parham site - where 16 people worked - was an important contributor to production.

It said: "Following the devastating fire at our Parham factory in August 2020, where we lost 50% of our productive capacity, we are just about managing to supply the large orders that we have but with considerable difficulty and staff working excessive overtime and outsourcing a lot of work which is both inefficient and costly.

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"Following a protracted and on-going insurance claim, the site at Parham has now been cleared and it is imperative that we need to reinstate the facility as soon as possible.

"Once we have this facility, it will relieve our present stressful situation and it will obviously lead to further employment possibilities as one of the largest employers in Framlingham."