Boxford drinks firm responds to fears about proposed £35m expansion

Phil Clark, site manager at Konings, Boxford
Phil Clark, site manager at Konings, Boxford

A drinks maker hoping to build a £35 million expansion at its Boxford site has sought to address growing opposition to the plans.

Babergh District Council is expected next month to consider plans by Konings UK for a 19-acre manufacturing base to be constructed over the next 10 years – a proposal which has heavily divided opinion in the area.

PepsiCo Copella juice factory at Boxford Farm, Suffolk.

PepsiCo Copella juice factory at Boxford Farm, Suffolk.

But Phil Clark, Konings site leader, said the firm has now hosted many meetings with councils, community groups and planning experts and is working to mitigate the issues.

“As a good neighbour for some 40 years, we know it is vital to work with others to achieve a balance that both ensures our considerable investment plans are sustainable,” he said.

“The promise by Konings to invest in Boxford is a massive vote of confidence in south Suffolk.

“Until Konings took over the site last year, there was every chance the plant would close and the 90 staff we employ would be made redundant.”

Konings has also argued that some public concerns have been based on misunderstandings. The firm said it did not find evidence of lorry speeding, and it also rejected accusations that many of the site’s employees were not local or were on temporary contracts.

Boxford Parish Council and the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce have given their backing to the application, saying they are optimistic about the projected £3.7-million annual boost to the local economy and the creation of 116 new jobs.

However, opposition has stemmed from Assington and Leavenheath parish councils, dozens of residents and the Dedham Vale Area of Natural Beauty and Stour Valley Project.

Their objections include concerns about the rise in HGV traffic, plus landscape and environment impacts.