British company makes ‘significant bid’ for major Suffolk industrial site, MP reveals

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge says a significant bid has been made for the Delphi site, which could safeguard the workforce Picture: Office of JAMES CARTLIDGE

A British company has put in a “significant bid” for a major industrial site in Sudbury which could see 500 jobs saved, South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge has revealed.

Mr Cartlidge said the company, which he did not name, plan to use the Delphi site as a hub for Chinese electrical car manufacturers, and keep the current workforce.

The MP added that although there is nothing stopping Delphi selling to the highest bidder, he said the company agreed in talks that the “ideal outcome” would be to preserve the site and its workforce for industrial use.

Delphi announced in August last year that it would scaling down operations before leaving the site in 2020, with the loss of around 500 jobs.

The South Suffolk Taskforce – chaired by Mr Cartlidge – was launched in October 2017 following the closure announcement.

The deadline for bids for the Newton Road plant is next week.

Speaking to BBC Radio Suffolk yesterday, Mr Cartlidge said: “These are 500 mainly highly skilled engineering jobs, which pay above average wages to people who almost all of which either live in Sudbury, south Suffolk or not far from the plant.

“So it’s absolutely critical to the local economy.

“So when the news was announced that the plant would be closing, I set up something called the South Suffolk Taskforce so we could try to help in potentially looking for another buyer.

“At the last session, we had a presentation by a British company who has come forward, which I can confirm has put in a significant bid for the site.

“Their plan would be to use it as a hub for Chinese electrical car manufacturers, and the first car they would plan to produce would be a high-powered electrical sports car similar to a Bugatti.”

Mr Cartlidge said he is worried that Delphi may consider high bids for the site – for commercial development or housing – as there are no conditions attached to the sale.

“The thing that I’ve learned today is that in an email which that company has received saying the deadline is next week, it says there is no conditionality attached,” he said.

“When Delphi came in front of my taskforce, they agreed with me and other members of the taskforce that the best outcome ideally would be for the site to remain in industrial use, preserving the jobs.

“If there’s no conditionality, what worries me is that they are therefore considering bids that maybe, for example, are looking to buy the site for commercial development or build residential property.

“There’s nothing legally stopping Delphi selling to anyone for the highest price and I quite understand if they get a very high bid then they’ll want to consider it but they did say to me that they agreed the best outcome would be for it to be preserved for industrial use.

“That was a commitment they made and my worry is that if that doesn’t happen, we will lose those 500 high-skilled jobs and it won’t be easy to replace them.”

 

Published by East Anglian Daily Times.