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Factory Expansion in the AONB

Konings have produced ‘Copella’ apple juice and other juices from its factory in Boxford since it purchased the manufacturing assets from Pepsico two and a half years ago. Following the purchase Konings put together a ten year expansion and investment plan for the site which involved the introduction of a canning facility, additional warehousing and a new PET bottling line to allow the manufacture of cider on site. The application included the submission of an EIA covering a wide range of issues primarily related to landscape as the site is located within the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A large amount of consultation was undertaken with a wide range of local stakeholders in relation to the application however due to the length of time taken to work through the application, Konings reviewed their business position and the application was withdrawn after nearly a year.

The opportunity to invest in a canning line at Boxford was lost, with the investment being made in sites in Germany and Belgium instead. A revised scheme was then submitted for the Boxford site comprising a 2,000sqm extension to the existing factory building of 15m in height and a car park.

The revised scheme faced significant local objections with statutory objections from Natural England and the local AONB group leading to counsel advice being sought into the definition of major development within the AONB. This then led to a positive Officers report which concluded the proposal was not considered to be major development within the AONB. The proposal was subsequently approved at planning committee in February 2019.

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