Peanut factory's jobs boost

A SUFFOLK town could become one of East Anglia's biggest manufacturing bases when a major peanut firm sets up its UK headquarters there.It is hoped that plans to relocate the Percy Dalton's main factory to Haverhill will kick start economic growth in the town, and create up to 100 new jobs.

A SUFFOLK town could become one of East Anglia's biggest manufacturing bases when a major peanut firm sets up its UK headquarters there.

It is hoped that plans to relocate the Percy Dalton's main factory to Haverhill will kick start economic growth in the town, and create up to 100 new jobs.

Percy Dalton's will be the first company to move on to the town's new 64-acre manufacturing facility, which is scheduled for completion in 2005.

The company's plans to expand its business by relocating from East London have been welcomed by the local council and members of the Haverhill Enterprise 2000 group, which promotes the town's development.

Nick Martin, economic development officer at St Edmundsbury Borough Council in Bury St Edmunds, said: "I am absolutely delighted that after such a long time in the planning stages the new business park is now coming into fruition.

"Haverhill is really booming at the moment and a manufacturer the size of Percy Dalton's could be the catalyst for the future development of the town and will help to really put it on the map."

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Mr Martin believes the move could lead to more housing in the town, as well as improved cultural, recreational, health and education facilities.

The Haverhill Business Park has already attracted interest from firms in most of the surrounding commercial centres, including Braintree, Chelmsford and Cambridge, as well as other companies looking to relocate out of London.

St Edmundsbury councillor Gerry Kiernan, who is responsible for the Cangle ward in Haverhill, said: "Percy Dalton's will be the first company to move to the estate and I think it will be a great move for the town.

"This shows confidence in Haverhill and the opportunity it will give to local people looking for work is a very positive one.

"Residents have been concerned in the past that Haverhill is becoming a dormant town but this new business park will make sure that doesn't happen."

Carisbrooke Alliance, the company responsible for developing the land, has received planning consent for the site and construction starts within two months.

Development director Paul Bird said: "We are delighted that planning has been achieved. We feel the town will now see more activity on the business park, which we hope will demonstrate our commitment to making Haverhill Business Park a success and a number one location for other businesses."

Once complete Haverhill Business Park will have the potential for 92,902 sq m of mixed-use development including industrial warehousing, offices and research and development.

It will be the second attempt by the peanut company to relocate to Suffolk. In 2002 angry residents living near the Moreton Hall industrial estate in Bury St Edmunds won a campaign against a proposal for the peanut processing unit over claims the smell and noise would ruin the environment.

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