Residents voice fears over expansion plans at Copella juice site in Boxford
- Credit: Alex Maguire
Residents have voiced concerns over plans to expand the well-known juice Copella site in Boxford – which will create 116 new jobs.
A number of objections to the planning application submitted by Belgium-based owners Konings have been submitted via the Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council website.
The consultation into Konings proposals to invest £35million over ten years through building both new can and plastic bottle lines, plus an area for cider processing closed today.
Konings says the expansion 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.
But residents are worried about the impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and increased traffic in the area.
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Konings says it has hosted many meetings with local councils, community groups and planning experts and has either modified aspects of their expansion plans or is conducting further research into them, including delivery lorries and speeds.
Objecting to the planning application via the council website, Kate Callaghan, of Boxford, said: “Although the creation of additional jobs in the area is a generally a good thing, I object to this proposal because the negative impact this development will have on the surrounding villages and AONB will significantly out weigh the economic benefits to the area and to local residents.
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“Recently the traffic on Stone Street and the B1068 has increased owing to two new housing developments in Boxford. The proposed development would increase traffic further from both HGVs and employees travelling to and from work. The volume of traffic and the type of vehicles using the roads will have a negative impact on residents and existing local businesses.”
Phil Clark, Konings Boxford site manager, said: “As a good neighbour for some 40 years, we know it is vital to actively work with others to achieve a balance that both ensures that our considerable investment plans are sustainable and that the needs of local communities are met wherever possible.
“The promise by Konings to invest in Boxford is a massive vote of confidence in south Suffolk.
“Until Konings took over the site last year, there was every chance that the plant would close and the 90 staff we employ would be made redundant.
“Now Konings is aiming to add cider production alongside juice manufacture – including for the Copella brand - on the site which will not only secure these jobs but will create 116 well-paid roles in operations, logistics and engineering.
“With talk of a post-Brexit loss of jobs to other European countries, Konings is actually aiming to establish a UK manufacturing base and return some of the 35% of UK product that is made in Europe back to the UK. In doing so, we estimate that this will not only boost the prospect for local hard working families but will pump an extra £3.7m of spending money into the local economy.”