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50 acre Great Blakenham has backing of The Greenery

UK: Plans for £30 million tomato greenhouse project put forward

Sterling Suffolk plans to build two commercial greenhouses on land next to the B1113 between Great Blakenham and Bramford. The greenhouses would cover an area of almost 50 acres and would produce 7,500 tonnes of tomatoes a year – helping to meet the huge demand for locally-grown British produce, the company has said.

The project, which would create more than 200 jobs, has the backing of The Greenery, one of the main distributors buying and selling salad produce throughout the UK and Europe, as well as SITA UK and Suffolk County Council, partners in the Suffolk energy-from-waste facility, which would provide heat for the greenhouses.

Michael Blakenham, from Sterling Suffolk, said: “The glasshouses will provide the base-load for developing a district heating system. In addition the reduction in food miles, the ability to grow all-year-round British quality tomatoes and to utilise substantial quantities of heat, that would otherwise have been wasted, first attracted me to the project.

“We have been heartened by the level of support received at two public meetings attended by well over 100 people. We have also had several meetings with residents most closely affected by the plan and have done our best to mitigate their concerns.

“One concern was traffic on the B1113, so we have looked very carefully at what could be done to improve safety on that road.

“As a result, in our planning application we have made a number of suggestions, which we would help fund. They include new road markings to reduce the width of the carriageway and thus help reduce vehicle speeds and prevent dangerous overtaking, a cycle lane in both directions and a central refuge making it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to cross.”

The proposals have been submitted to Mid Suffolk District Council.

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