Row over redundant work units

PARISH councillors are accusing a development agency of reneging on its duty to rural communities by selling off a complex of industrial units.The barn-like units, at Stradbroke, were erected about 20 years ago, mainly to help new businesses to get established in an economically and socially deprived area.

PARISH councillors are accusing a development agency of reneging on its duty to rural communities by selling off a complex of industrial units.

The barn-like units, at Stradbroke, were erected about 20 years ago, mainly to help new businesses to get established in an economically and socially deprived area.

However, parish councillors say that high rents and restrictions on working hours doomed the development to failure in its main aim.

The whole complex of six units in two buildings was eventually taken over by Weston Medical, a local company developing a revolutionary needle-free injection system.


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The units, owned by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), have remained empty since the firm went into liquidation just over a year ago. They have been up for sale for the past six months.

Parish councillors have now written to local MP, Sir Michael Lord, urging him to help force EEDA to "comply with its commitment to promote economic development in rural areas, not stifle it".

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The letter accuses EEDA of reneging on its duties and adds: "It is EEDA's responsibility to promote economic development in rural areas, not to sell off units specifically designed to help promote business in these areas."

Nick Stones parish council chairman, said yesterday: "We know of two local businesses that have expressed interest in renting one of the units but they have been turned away because they want to sell the whole complex."

It was likely that their original role as "start-up" units would not be fulfilled in future.

Mr Stones said realistic rent levels were needed, possibly through subsidy, to help local businesses.

An EEDA spokesman in Cambridge disclosed that the Stradbroke units had now been sold, for £300,000.

"Under the sale agreement they will have to continue to be used for businesses in line with our aims. We want these sites to remain available for employment," he added.

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