Aspall Cyder’s new owners claim they will cut lorry traffic around Suffolk site by a quarter
- Credit: Archant
The brewing giant behind Suffolk’s iconic cider brand has made further assurances its growth plans will not disrupt rural surroundings.
Molson Coors which bought Aspall in January, acknowledged the highways and environmental concerns that have been raised locally – but claimed its proposals would reduce traffic.
People living near to the site have been complaining about traffic long before it was sold by the Chevallier Guild family – its owners since 1728.
However the new owners’ stated ambitions to increase production by a third led to greater fears.
Philip Whitehead, managing director of the company’s UK and Ireland operation, told a public meeting last month of the company’s commitment to Suffolk and also unveiled plans to make the site more efficient.
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He told the meeting a new effluent facility and weighbridge would reduce the current 1,250 annual lorry movements.
However some villagers felt this would be offset by the increase in production. One person, who asked not to be named, said: “We, who live in Aspall, are alarmed.” They said the “huge increases in HGV movements” would “far outweigh the heralded reduction in tankers removing waste”. “It raises serious environmental concerns,” they added.
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Addressing the concerns, Mr Whitehead said any work would be “sensitive to the community”.
“The main thin is we believe we can drive a net reduction of 25% of the vehicles,” he added.
“So even though we produce more cider on site, the improvements from the weighbridge and effluent facility will still mean fewer lorries.”
Mr Whitehead also said the new techniques would reduce the risk of contaminating the river Deben adding that the company had already met with the Environment Agency, which had no concerns.
He said an action plan was being developed in response to issues raised at the public meeting, including screening.
Barry Chevallier Guild, who was the eighth generation of his family to run the business, also offered assurances to residents.
He said a key factor in deciding to sell to Molson Coors was its success in taking over Sharp’s Brewer business in Cornwall.
“I saw first-hand the very positive way Molson Coors have tried to minimise the impact of the growth of that brand and business on its local environment,” he added. I for one look forward to a very positive future for the Aspall brand and business and I rest assured that its future growth is in the hands of the right people.