Construction of the first phase of Freeport East began today with a ‘ground-breaking’ ceremony in which Mid Suffolk District Council leader Cllr Suzie Morley put the first spade in the ground on the Gateway 14 development. Gateway 14 is one of three tax sites within Freeport East which are set to create hundreds of jobs for the area, boost the local economy and attract investment into the region.
George Kieffer, Acting Chairman of Freeport East, said:
”Freeport East is a transformational initiative providing a total of 275 hectares of development opportunities in an area around the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich. Freeport status will attract new and additional investment in world-leading infrastructure and innovation, driving the Green Industrial Revolution and providing extensive re-skilling and up-skilling opportunities to transform the life chances of thousands of people. Today’s ground-breaking ceremony represents the first tangible step on this exciting journey.”
The Gateway 14 development, which is being undertaken by Gateway 14 Ltd (wholly owned by Mid Suffolk District Council) and development manager, Jaynic, will provide a new base for manufacturing, logistics and R&D businesses as well as providing innovation space for smaller and start-up businesses.
Cllr Suzie Morley, Mid Suffolk District Council leader, said:
“This is a hugely important development for Mid Suffolk and the wider region. Gateway 14 has the potential to not only attract businesses to the area but also create a range of employment opportunities in the district. It is a key part of our vision in building a thriving and sustainable future for the residents and communities of Mid Suffolk.”
Freeport status provides businesses with a range benefits including a suite of tax reliefs and simplified customs arrangements. Freeport East includes two other tax sites at the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port as well as four customs sites.
Located close to junction 50 of the A14 near Stowmarket, the 67 hectare Gateway 14 development is designed to a high specification with sustainability at the centre with features such as EV charging, LED lighting, solar PV, smart energy systems and rainwater harvesting. The development will meet a minimum Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) rating of Very Good and excellent wherever possible.
Accessibility through and around the development is a key feature with significant walking and cycling routes being integrated along with access to public transport links and local amenities.
Biodiversity on the site is also a priority, with high-quality landscaping, green corridors and nesting boxes all being introduced across the site to support not only the wildlife and ecology but also to create a vibrant, attraction and healthy working environment for employees.
The infrastructure contract worth £6.4m was recently awarded to Jackson Civil Engineering Ltd and is expected to be completed by early 2023. This includes building the new main estate road from the roundabout on the A1120, providing direct access into the development, the installation of a new toucan pedestrian crossing on the A1120 to the retail development on the opposite side of the road; gas, water and electricity mains, foul and drainage water, footpaths, and cycle lanes, the stopping up of Mill Lane and a bund to the Clamps Farm boundary.
Gateway 14 offers a prime location for manufacturing and logistics with its position along the A14 providing easy access to Ipswich, Cambridge and up to the Midlands as well as to the port at Felixstowe.