I was really pleased to visit Sproughton Enterprise Park to see the progress that is being made, reports Labour Leader of Ipswich Borough Council, David Ellesmere.
Ipswich Borough Council bought the former sugar beet site three years ago from receivers after a sale to a private investor fell through. This is a major regional strategic employment site, both because of its size and its excellent transport links.
Since buying the site a huge amount of work has gone in to getting it ready for occupation.
The most visible sign has been the demolition of the silos which were a huge landmark for decades. Most of the concrete from the silos will be kept on site and used in the construction of the estate roads.
We have produced a masterplan for the whole site and gained planning permission for the first phase of infrastructure and for the first occupier.
This is what led to my latest visit, to mark the signing of the contract with LDH (La Doria) who will be building their new distribution unit here.
This is a big vote of confidence in Ipswich by LDH who are a major supplier of own brand grocery products. We know that they looked at other sites but believed Sproughton was the best.
This is a £40 million development which will be the highest specification of its sort in Britain using new technologies to improve delivery times and productivity. Over 100 people will be employed here with around 30 of these being completely new jobs.
The proceeds of the sale of the land to LDH will pay for the development of the first phase of estate infrastructure, which in turn will make it easier to attract further businesses.
Because we gained Enterprise Zone status for Sproughton, LDH – and other occupiers – will benefit from reduced business rates in their first years of occupation.
It also means that the Council receives a share of business rates payable for the 25-year lifetime of the Enterprise Zone which we can use to pay for the further development of the site.
We have seen a lot of interest from other potential occupiers and are confident that Sproughton will be attracting more businesses and jobs to Ipswich in future.