Task force determined to keep Sudbury Delphi site for industrial use

Babergh District Council’s leader says the last thing he wants for the Delphi Diesel Systems plant in Sudbury is for it to turn into homes, as efforts to retain it for industrial use continue.

John Ward was questioned at a meeting last week about the future of the Newton Road factory, which has been earmarked for closure by 2020, and confirmed the council is taking an active role in exploring all potential options for the site, as part of the South Suffolk Taskforce.

The organisation has distributed brochures to the BEIS department, British embassies and other channels to help market the site, which employs more than 500 people, although Cllr Ward stated he has not heard of any prospective buyer coming forward so far.

He told the Free Press he felt the most preferable option for the Delphi site, which has been part of Sudbury for more than 70 years, is to see a single major industrial company take over the plant and make full use of the existing workforce.

“The agreed main priority of the council and its partners is to be able to retain the site for industrial use and not lose the unique skills of the workforce, and we are confident that we will achieve a positive outcome,” he said.

The task force is also working with the Unite union, which has warned that the factory’s most-skilled and longest-serving workers may soon start to split off and seek alternative employment, if the plant’s future is not resolved soon.

Cllr Ward said the other option being considered is the possibility of dividing the site into smaller industrial units.

He added: “In my view, this is prime industrial space.

“The last thing I would want to see is for it to become residential.”

The South Suffolk Taskforce is chaired by South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge and includes representatives from town, district and county councils and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

 

Published by the Suffolk Free Press.