Plans for a ‘huge’ food warehouse off the A12 could create 300 jobs

A 3D visualisation of the Surya Food warehouse, which is planned to be built off the A12 in Ardleigh

A 3D visualisation of the Surya Food warehouse, which is planned to be built off the A12 in Ardleigh. Picture: BEANLAND ASSOCIATES ARCHITECTS LIMITED - Credit: BEANLAND ASSOCIATES ARCHITECTS LIMITED

Plans have been submitted to build a food storage centre near the A12 in Ardleigh, which could create more than 300 permanent jobs.

Flying Trade Group is hoping to build the new storage and distribution centre on agricultural land off Old Ipswich Road and Wick Lane, which would serve the company’s branch, Surya Food, that is based in a factory in Harwich.

The proposals include plans for a food storage and distribution facility and associated parking, along with a logistics yard and offices.

A number of objections have been raised by villagers following the proposals, with comments referring to the scale of the planned buildings which will be around 19 metres high.

Ardleigh Parish Council has also objected to the plans for this reason, saying “the scale of the development is unacceptably large” and it would “completely destroy views and dominate the local skyline”.

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It also raised issues regarding the lack of viable public transport for workers, the 24/7 light pollution and the impact on the local wildlife such as badgers and bats which are known to use the land.

The global foods wholesaler Surya is thought to be the biggest supplier of world food lines into supermarket giants Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, with extensive independent retail accounts across the UK.

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Its Laila basmati features in the UK’s top three rice brands.

Included in the plans submitted by the Flying Trade Group are 180 to 200 parking spaces, which would be used for workers at the site.

A Surya Food spokesman said: “We are a progressive company which was founded in 1994 with the support of a Tendring District Investment Grant. We have continued to grow and plough investment into all of the companies within our group – a strategy which has secured us a place in the UK’s prestigious TopTrack 250 for the past three years running. We currently supply all of the UK’s major national retailers and export to over 40 countries worldwide.

“As a successful multinational, which is still completely family run, we have ambitious expansion plans for the future. But, more importantly, as owners, who are also local residents, we are particularly keen to benefit the Essex economy with development and capital expenditure. We have already invested over £10million pounds into Colchester which includes the development of St Nicholas House and the redevelopment of the historic George Hotel.

“We requested back in February 2020, to Essex Highways for Old Ipswich Road to have a speed restriction of 30mph and for the inclusion of double yellow lines to aid the route on and off the A12. There will be no vehicle movement down Wick Lane and through the village.

“This investment initially will create more than 300 new permanent jobs for the Tendring and Colchester area, as well as providing development work for local self-employed builders.”

Glynis Taylor, who is a resident of Ardleigh, has objected to the plans saying “this would be a disaster environmentally with noise, fumes and loss of habitat”.

Meanwhile, Patricia Curtis-Allen, added: “Surely this development is a step too far. A 19 metre high warehouse will be seen by the whole of Ardleigh – a real ‘blot’ on the landscape.

“Another nail in the coffin of our wonderful countryside.”

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