15:26 25 April 2022
Construction has begun on a new multi-million pound business park which is set to form part of Freeport East.
Project managers opened the land off the A14 Junction 50 near Stowmarket on Monday morning for Gateway 14 – a business park for logistics, manufacturing and research and development companies, as well as start-ups .
The development is expected to create around 3,000 jobs and deliver £250million in economic benefits, with the facility being one of three main elements of the Freeport East scheme alongside the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich.
Suzie Morley, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, which wholly owns Gateway 14 Ltd, said: ‘This is a hugely significant development for Mid Suffolk and the wider region.
“Gateway 14 has the potential to not only attract business to the area, but also create a range of employment opportunities in the district.”
Planning permission for the 156-acre site was approved in August last year by the council’s Development Control Committee, although concerns have been raised by residents, local councilors and campaigners.
Among the fears raised were that trucks would use the narrow secondary roads around Mill Lane or the residential areas around Creeting St Peter and Cedars Park, the potential lack of community benefits and thinner landscape buffers around the site than originally planned.
Work on the £6.4m infrastructure contract by Jackson Civil Engineering Ltd is due to be completed early next year, which will include the estate’s new main road from the roundabout on the A1120 .
Nic Rumsey, Managing Director of Jaynic, the project development managers, added: “The vision of Mid Suffolk District Council is strong, and we are delighted to be part of it – creating this exciting scheme which will provide many jobs for surrounding districts and region.”
Businesses occupying the Gateway 14 site in the future are expected to enjoy the benefits of being in tax and customs areas linked to the Freeport East designation, which may include reduced VAT, reduced stamp duty on new buildings and five years of tariff relief.
But opposition Green and Liberal Democrat councilors from Mid Suffolk Council said they fear it could become an onshore tax haven which may not offer benefits to existing businesses in Mid Suffolk.
The full business case for Freeport East is in the hands of the government for a final decision.