Sudbury Chamber of Commerce says steps must be taken to attract new employment avenues to replace the 520 jobs that will be lost by 2020 when one of the town’s largest employers closes down.
The organisation met last week to begin developing a strategy to minimise the impact of the closure of the Delphi Diesel Systems plant in Newton Road, which will gradually wind down its operations over the next three years.
The chamber is now working with several groups to plan for the large-scale job losses, including Babergh District Council, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and MP for South Suffolk James Cartlidge, who has involved the Minister for Business in the matter.
John McMillan, president of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, said the aim over the coming years is to ensure “a smooth transition” between the loss of Delphi and the introduction of other businesses which will fill the void that is left behind.
“The closure of Delphi is only a disaster if we let it become one,” he said.
“The end of Delphi does not have to be a disaster. The important thing is to replace the lost jobs as soon as possible.
“Now that we know what is happening, we can start to plan for the future.
“Sudbury is very good at pulling together when things like this happen. We are all working towards the future already.
“The main thing we have got to do is get redevelopment done as quickly as possible, and get the planning process moving forward as quickly as possible.”
Mr McMillan explained that one of the key opportunities that needs to be grasped is that the size of the Delphi site could free up room for several companies, which could address the current issue of a lack of space for new industrial buldings.
He added that the ideal scenario would be a rapid turnaround from the moment the plant is vacated by Delphi to new employers moving in its place.
Discussions online on social media following the announcement of the closure have suggested the site would be big enough to potentially accommodate a cinema, a leisure complex and a number of large stores.