Boxford company hears residents’ fears about expansion plans

PepsiCo Copella juice factory at Boxford Farm, Suffolk.
PepsiCo Copella juice factory at Boxford Farm, Suffolk.
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A group of Boxford residents are meeting a drinks factory boss to put forward concerns over plans to expand the factory.

Ten residents from the small hamlet of Stone Street, near Boxford, are meeting Konings UK on Monday to discuss plans to increase the 5.5 acre manufacturing operation to around 19 acres over the next 10 years.

A planning application includes new bottling and canning facilities, with the target of producing around 200 million cans of cider a year.

Ed Kench, who lives in Kiln Cottage, said: “Our biggest concern is the increase in traffic.

“Often, we have to call the police because HGVs come into the village and get stuck. Lorries cannot get through and the police have to reverse them out.”

Mr Kench said villagers are also concerned about a massive development in the Dedham Vale, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Personally, he has worries about how noisy the proposed new factory operations will be.

“I am already being affected by noise from the factory,” he said. “It sounds like a washing machine on a high spin cycle; very unpleasant. I have to have the radio on at night.”

He said residents would be calling for traffic measures at entrances to the village to stop HGVs.

Konings factory site manager Phil Clark said: “I am very much looking forward to meeting Stone Street residents, explaining the detail of our application to them and actively listening to and reflecting upon their questions.

“As producers of Copella juices, we are the custodians of an iconic Suffolk success story.

“Our planning application seeks to secure both the 90 current jobs at our Boxford site and create an additional 116 high-quality roles over the next 10 years by increasing our production capacity within our current location in a manner which is in line with the intent of existing permissions.

“As long-standing good neighbours, we have worked hard to meet both local parish councils and residents to listen to their views and try, where possible, to address them.

“As a result, and from working with Babergh’s planners, we are working on proposals to significantly reduce any additional visual or noise issues and are actively looking at means of keeping the highways impact – for which approval was granted in 2007 – to a minimum.”