Sudbury Chamber of Commerce president says Delphi closure ‘does not have to be a disaster’

Delphi Diesel Systems in Sudbury. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Delphi Diesel Systems in Sudbury. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

The president of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce says the closure of the town’s Delphi plant “does not have to be a disaster” as the site can free up space for other companies.

The organisation met last week to discuss strategies for when the Newton Road firm closes and officers agreed that steps must be taken to attract jobs to the town to replace the 520 which will be lost.

The company, which makes diesel fuel injectors and filters for commercial vehicles, announced on August 4 that the site will be scaled down before finally closing in 2020, despite being “highly profitable”.

The union Unite understands that the firm’s American owners plan to move work to Romania for cheaper labour costs and greater government subsidies.

The union called on the government to step up its industrial strategy following the closure announcement, and it is understood that 50 jobs will go before Christmas.

With Britain set to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040, it is predicted the demand for diesel vehicles will fall rapidly.

Chamber president John McMillan said he believes the closure can be turned into a positive for the town.

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He said: “Now that we know what is happening, we can start to plan the future.

“The chamber is aware that companies do want to move to Sudbury, but there is no space for new industrial buildings. The Delphi site is huge and can free up space for several other companies.

The Chamber is in contact with Babergh District Council, who are also planning ways to handle the Delphi closure.

“Several bodies are working on the issue. Babergh Council is, as is the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership. James Cartlidge has involved the minister for business.

“The end of Delphi does not have to be a disaster. The important thing is to replace the lost jobs as soon as possible.”

Speaking after the closure announcement, James Cartlidge MP said: “Sudbury remains an attractive place to run a business.

“The responsibility going forward is for national and local stakeholders to come together to ensure that Sudbury has an even brighter future.”

Delphi has been based in Sudbury for more than 70 years.