Sudbury: �50million development in doubt

A DEVELOPMENT that would create 500 jobs in west Suffolk could be in jeopardy after it emerged planning permission for the project has not yet been issued.

In May, Babergh’s planning committee gave Sudbury-based market support firm Prolog the go ahead to build a �50million development with two huge warehouses, offices and a service yard on land off Church Field Road.

But conditions were attached to the approval because of concerns raised by Chilton residents and heritage organisations about the impact the large-scale buildings would have on the landscape, and the nearby Grade I listed St Mary’s Church and Grade II* listed Chilton Hall.

But now four months on, the district authority still hasn’t issued planning permission because of a disagreement over the conditions.

Prolog director Peter Tyrer, who described the delay as frustrating, said: “There are delays with the section 106 agreement because having obtained approval, they (Babergh District Council) are now seeking to impose restrictions that were not discussed with us fully before, which would in our view make the project commercially unviable.

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“We are still trying to sort this out and we would still like to get it underway but it has to be on terms that are viable.”

Prolog was founded in Sudbury more than 25 years ago and it employs 400 people at its Milner Road site. The new development would create an extra 500 jobs. The company also has a site in the east midlands and could be forced to move its entire operation there if the new Sudbury site fails to materialise.

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Sudbury town clerk Sue Brotherwood said it could be devastating for the town’s economny if the project failed to go ahead, adding: “It would be very sad if the chance of 500 jobs was taken away from the town and the knock-on effect of possibly losing a further 400 would be terrible.”

A Babergh spokesperson said all conditions had been made clear to Prolog from the outset and were included in the report which went before Babergh’s Development Committee on May 16.

She said: “The Section 106 agreement is required for legitimate planning reasons and, as far as we are aware, the delay is happening because since the meeting, the applicant has decided it doesn’t want to accept certain clauses.

“Despite the offer of a further meeting to finalise this agreement it has been ignored. Until the Section 106 agreement is complete Babergh has not been able to issue planning permission.”

She said Babergh was keen to see a resolution to the case, adding: “We would invite the applicant and its solicitors to attend a meeting to discuss their concerns, so the process can begin to move forward.”

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