Urgent plea to Delphi to retain Sudbury site for industry and jobs
PUBLISHED: 15:46 16 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:03 16 August 2019
A major Sudbury employer has been urged to "reconsider" the decision to sell the site for housing.
The Delphi Industries diesel plant will close next year with the loss of about 500 jobs as the firm moves production abroad.
It emerged in a letter to South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge in July that the American corporation intends to sell the nine-hectare site, off Newton Road, to Charterhouse Property Group.
Community leaders expressed their shock and disappointment at the news as it had been hoped the site would be saved for industrial use, preserving jobs.
READ MORE: 'Big blow' for Sudbury as Delphi reveals plan to sell site to housing company
Sudbury Town Council is now urging Delphi to "reconsider this decision as a matter of priority and to work with the local community to preserve local employment".
Sudbury Mayor Robert Spivey said: "The members of Sudbury Town Council wish to express their profound dismay at the decision by Delphi Diesel Systems to dispose of their site in Sudbury for housing.
"This dismay is strengthened by the fact that we had understood that there were continuing discussions about keeping the site for industrial purposes, which could have provided alternative employment for some of the many hundreds of employees whose jobs have been threatened by Delphi's decision to close.
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"No indication had been given that the site was to be sold for housing. Given Delphi's long association with our town, we should have hoped for better.
"We urge Delphi to reconsider this decision as a matter of priority and to work with the local community to preserve local employment."
Delphi was approached for comment but no-one was available.
In its letter to Mr Cartlidge, Delphi said: "We understand that Charterhouse's intention is to clear the site following our vacation in order to facilitate the necessary remedial works."
Speaking at the time in Parliament, the MP described this outcome as a "bitter blow", adding Delphi had previously said its priority was to keep the site for industrial use.
He said in October last year he received a letter from Delphi saying that: "Regarding the future of the site, I can confirm our preference for the site to remain an industrial one and we have already invested significant sums to create an industrial assessment report to support this."
Mr Cartlidge added: "I hope we can still have a mixed-use site that maintains employment, and if Delphi wants to do that, I will work with it."
The Delphi site has capacity to employ more than 2,500 people.