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Turners Transport gets green light from East Cambridgeshire District Council for warehouse plan

Turners Transport, Fordham (6338967)
Turners Transport, Fordham (6338967)

Turners is to spend millions building a huge frozen goods warehouse at its headquarters just outside Newmarket.

Meeting on Wednesday, East Cambridgeshire District planners agreed plans for the 100,000 sq ft storage facility along with a new lorry park at the company’s Fordham Road site despite a call from county archaeologists and planning officers for a full site investigation first because of fears that precious Bronze Age artefacts could be damaged during construction.

Turners’ managing director Paul Day told the planning committee the company would lose a multi-million pound contract with international chicken farming company Cranswick if work did not start immediately, and any dig would push construction beyond their March 2020 deadline.

Cranswick is set to open a huge £60m poultry facility in Eye and and wants to use the Turners site as a hub to export to China.

Mr Day said the investment plans were a ‘high risk’ for the company and were part of a 50-year commitment to the facility. “It’s a massive investment of £17.5 million into the Fordham site,” he said. “And I hope benefits will come to the company and, with it, the area.”

Newmarket Town Council manager, Roberta Bennett, speaking on behalf of the authority, urged district planners to defer their decision until a full transport assessment was complete.

Turners Transport, Fordham (6338965)
Turners Transport, Fordham (6338965)

But planning officer Andrew Philips said the new facility would reduce the lorries going in and out of the site, with truck movements falling 10 per cent. “It will benefit the local highway,” he said.

Cllr Bill Hunt said committee members had to ‘face reality’ and back the project. He said its location is ‘fantastically well placed to access the major road networks of the county’.

And SohamNorth councillor Mark Goldsack also backed the plans: “What we have heard here today is a case for expansion and growth of a tremendously successful company we should support and be proud of.”

Cllr Derrick Beckett agreed and said the Bronze Age remains would not be disturbed by the 350mm foundations needed for the lorry park.

The committee voted unanimously to approve the scheme.