Expansion plans at Copella juice site in Boxford shelved
PUBLISHED: 10:57 18 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:31 18 June 2018
A planning application to expand the Copella juice site in Boxford has been withdrawn, the owners have said.
In a letter to local councils, Belgian-based owners Konings said it is pulling its current application to expand the Brick Kiln Hill site – which the company said would create 116 new jobs and generate an additional £3.7million in income.
Konings says a revised application “on a smaller scale” will be submitted to increase the height of a permitted building from 10 to 15 metres and for the creation of car parking at the southern side of the site.
Many residents opposed the plans, citing concerns over the impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and increased traffic in the area.
In the letter, Phil Clark, site lead at Konings, said: “You will doubtless recall that throughout this whole process, we have been clear that as the factory stands today it lacks sufficient scale to make it viable in the long term, and without either expansion or the ability to attract further volume then the site is likely to close.
“Over the last year or so, Konings UK has striven to balance the concerns of local stakeholders, the needs of our customers and to ensure that the site has a long term future protecting the 90 direct employees and the indirect employees of businesses that have working relationships with us.
“We recognise that there has been a limited amount of information in the public domain over the last three to four months.
“During that time, we have been weighing up the many perspectives and views expressed during the application consultation period, as well as taking into account changes in our own market sector and the wider company order book.
“We have come to the conclusion that whilst trying to balance the input of all stakeholders there is sufficient scope to expand the site within the bounds of what is already permitted by replacing a line that was mothballed in 2008.
“As a result, we will be formally withdrawing our current planning application.
“We will be submitting a revised application on a smaller scale in order to increase the height of an already permitted building from 10m to 15m and for the creation of car parking at the southern side of the site.
“The increase in height is necessary to give sufficient tank storage space for aseptic juice storage and to give better operational flexibility.
“The relocation of the car park will allow for some layout changes on the site to take place. All other elements under the current application will be withdrawn.”
The Stop Konings Expansion group tweeted: “Great news! We’re happy to report that Konings have listened to local opinion and withdrawn their application. Thank you all for your support! We will obviously be keeping a close eye on their revised plans for the site once they are submitted.”