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Chamber’s anger at Prolog decision

Chamber of commerce president John McMillan. ENGANL00120130522133616
Chamber of commerce president John McMillan. ENGANL00120130522133616

Members of Sudbury Chamber of Commerce said they were furious to hear that Sudbury-based firm Prolog could abandon its plans to create up to 500 new jobs on the edge of the town.

At a meeting last week, chamber members expressed outrage at the way protesters led by Lady Hart of Chilton had been able to scupper plans for a £50million warehouse development in Chilton.

The plans were originally accepted by Babergh District Council’s planning committee in 2014, but this was appealed and the plans quashed at a judicial review at the High Court.

Now the company has said it may look to move its warehouse operations, saying its current building is beyond economical repair, with its lease ending in 2017. Staff at the site in Church Field Road, Chilton, are being consulted about redundancies, but Prolog’s call centre in North Street, Sudbury, will be kept.

Prolog’s managing director Neil Daniells told the chamber that he was amazed when he met the Sudbury work force.

He said there were three generations of families working for the company and, having never seen anything like it, he wanted to invest in Sudbury.

Opponents to the plans have said that the warehouses would have an adverse impact on heritage assets in Chilton including Lady Hart’s Grade II-listed Chilton Hall and its Grade I-listed walled garden, as well as the village’s Grade II-listed church.

There were also concerns around conditions that could have allowed Prolog to sell on the site.

Chamber president John McMillan said members fully understood Prolog’s position, saying the situation had become untenable.

Mr McMillan said: “It’s not just the loss of 30 jobs. Prolog is one of our larger and longer standing employers.

“Prolog have seen six years’ work wasted. This has now resulted in making several people redundant and wasted many thousands of pounds of council taxpayers’ money.

“The chamber now needs to make it clear that the town remains open for business. We trust that this exercise will not be repeated and that we can encourage jobs to the area in line with the large numbers of houses envisaged.

“We will continue to offer Prolog our full support and thank them for their other continued involvement with Sudbury and the large number of jobs that they will continue to provide within the town.”

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