Boxford drinks firm plans to invest £35 million and create over 100 new jobs

PepsiCo Copella juice factory at Boxford Farm, Suffolk.
PepsiCo Copella juice factory at Boxford Farm, Suffolk.

A drinks factory is planning a major expansion to its Boxford base, pledging to invest £35 million and create more than 100 new jobs.

Konings took over the Pepsico soft drinks manufacturing plant on Brick Kiln Hill last year, saying it would look to expand the site and its production potential.

At a parish council meeting in Leavenheath last week, company representatives shared proposals for new bottling and canning facilities, including plans to produce up to 203 million cans of cider a year.

The plans look to significantly increase the size of the factory ,which sits on the edge of the Dedham Vale area of outstanding natural beauty.

It says the £35million capital investment will create 116 new jobs – in addition to the 90 already employed – and bring an additional £3.7 million in annual income to the region.

In the company’s presentation documents, it states: “Konings very much wants the Boxford site to remain a recognised part of the local community, working with interest groups and schools, while also being recognised as a responsible new name to the area.

“These plans have been put together intending to satisfy the next 10 years of growth, but have attempted, wherever possible, to stay within the parameters and limits established by the previous, existing planning permission.”

The presentation states the belief that the B1068 and the A134 could accommodate a predicted increase of around 314 HGVs per week. Currently, the factory has 135 HGVs per week.

It also thought that effective landscaping and planting, as well as building design and colour, would “go a long way to mitigating any visual impact” on the landscape.

The proposals show that Konings, which manufactures Copella apple juice, hopes to submit an application for planning permission this month, with Babergh District Council aware of the pending application.

Julian Fincham-Jacques, chairman of Boxford Parish Council, said: “At some point, we will arrange a meeting at Konings to get a clear understanding of what’s going on there.

“I have been approached by someone from Leavenheath, who is obviously very unhappy with the plan, but, as I have said to them, I am reserving judgement until we’ve gone up there and met them. Then we will make a decision.”

Leavenheath Parish Council chairman Barbara Rowe said: “Our concern is the access to the A134, but the company says the increase in HGV movements will not exceed its permitted limit.”