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Drinks manufacturer Konings wins approval for revised plans for factory expansion near Boxford

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Konings drinks factory, Stoke Road, Leavenheath....Picture Mark Westley. (7387916)
Konings drinks factory, Stoke Road, Leavenheath....Picture Mark Westley. (7387916)

Revised plans to expand a drinks manufacturing factory near Boxford have been green-lit, despite continued local opposition.

Drinks maker Konings UK received planning approval for a 2,000 square metre extension of its existing production premises at Hill Farm, plus associated car parking, landscaping and drainage.

The firm submitted the application in the summer, after it withdrew a much larger-scale proposal due to the length and demands of the planning process, stating its aim was now to protect around 90 jobs at the site.

However, the plans faced objections from residents, parish councils and conservation groups over concerns about its impact on the Dedham Vale Area of Natural Beauty (AONB).

Peter Beer, chairman of Babergh District Council’s planning committee, said: “The location, landscape and safeguarding of jobs in the district all combined to make this decision one that had to balance a great many factors.

“After long debate, the committee concluded that, with the appropriate conditions on the height and colouring of the new buildings, the benefits these proposals could bring outweighed the potential impact and so voted to grant planning permission.”

The approval was welcomed by Konings as a sign that south Suffolk is still a good location for businesses.

Phil Clark, Konings site lead in Boxford, said: “This is good news for Konings staff, their families, our local supply chain and indeed for the reputation of south Suffolk as a place that understands and supports growing businesses.

“This small height addition, on top of our existing planning approvals, will allow us to maximise our productive capacity and remain competitive in a tough market.”

But a statement from the Stop Konings Expansion campaign group said: “Babergh District Council had the opportunity to save the AONB and didn’t take it. Every time there has been an application where the AONB should have been protected, it hasn’t.

“More than 200 residents objected, along with all parish councils and other consultees, including Natural England. They were all ignored by the councillors, who seem to only have one agenda, which does not seem to be the same as the people they represent.”