New business park planned for Beccles

BECCLES is set for an employment boost, with plans for a new business park on the outskirts of the town in the pipeline.

Business leaders have welcomed proposals for the new Hornbill Business Park in Ellough which looks set to boost the local economy and provide much-needed jobs if it is given the green light.

Last night the company behind the development in Benacre Road said there had already been a lot of interest in the site, with several good inquiries from businesses looking to locate there.

Peter Colby Commercials Ltd Property Division is seeking permission from Waveney District Council for a change of use of the site to employment uses.

The 24-acre plot is on the disused Ellough airfield site and adjacent to Ellough Industrial Estate.

Company architect Andrew Wilson said: “At the moment the plan is to get planning consent for the whole of the site and we intend to develop the first phase of 10 acres as soon as possible after planning consent.

“Plans for the first phase include 14 small units for start-up businesses.

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“There has been a lot of interest in the site. We have had two good inquiries from local fairly major employers and one large inquiry from a business outside the area.”

Mr Wilson said the site was in a good location and well placed for capitalising on the growing offshore industry. “There is nowhere else in the Waveney District Council boundary that offers this opportunity,” he said.

“The plans are in the very early stages, but Waveney District Council has been very helpful.”

A statement to planning officers states: “The 24-acre site lies within the boundaries of a disused second world war airfield adjacent to existing employment areas.

“Following discussions with Waveney District Council this is an initial planning application for a change of use consent to employment uses, on the granting of which further detailed applications for full consents on individual buildings will follow.”

The report adds: “It is intended and expected that a wide range of companies will be attracted to the location ranging from small start-up companies to national and international companies meeting the larger plot sizes available within the Hornbill Business Park.

“It is planned that some accommodation, in particular smaller employment units will be constructed ahead of demand.”

Richard Stubbings, vice-chairman of Beccles Business Association and managing director of Kulture Shock action figure store, welcomed the news. He said: “It is always great to hear about new investment coming into the area. It is a great idea. I am fully behind it.” But Mr Stubbings cautioned that better public transport services were needed if the area was to fully reach its potential.

James Reeder, vice-president of Lowestoft and Waveney Chamber of Commerce, also welcomed the news and said: “Anything that will encourage employment into the area must be looked at very seriously and where possible supported.”