Detailed planning consent has been given for the first unit at Freeport East Gateway 14. The unit will be occupied by home, garden and leisure products retailer The Range and create an estimated 1,650 jobs. Gateway 14 Ltd is wholly-owned by Freeport East partner Mid Suffolk District Council. Work on the distribution unit is expected to start in January, with a completion date target of autumn 2023.
Commenting on the latest development Steve Beel, Freeport East CEO, said: “Freeport East will help drive growth and investment throughout the region and it is great to see the first tangible example of that move one step closer to reality. I congratulate our partners on passing this important milestone and look forward to seeing the building take shape over coming months.” Sir Christopher Haworth, chair of Gateway 14 Ltd, said: “We are delighted to see these plans progress. The arrival of The Range will show the huge potential of Gateway 14 for Suffolk and the region. Not only will the scheme deliver a very significant number of jobs but it will also provide a highly sustainable building of which the region can be justifiably proud.” Cllr Suzie Morley, Mid Suffolk District Council leader, said: “I am pleased to see this development receive approval. This is hugely significant for Mid Suffolk and the rest of the county – bringing business and jobs to the area.” Cllr Harry Richardson, Mid Suffolk cabinet member for economic growth, said: “This is an exciting scheme which brings major benefits to our district. We look forward to continuing work on Gateway 14 and bringing further positive impact on the area.” Freeport East Gateway 14 has outline planning consent for a 2.36m sq ft mixed-use innovation, business and warehousing scheme, and construction of the site infrastructure is already well underway. The landmark development will provide high specification buildings with sustainability a central feature, including EV charging, LED lighting, solar, smart energy systems and rainwater harvesting. The development is BREEAM Excellent – exceeding the planning requirements for BREEAM Very Good. Walking and cycling routes will be integrated, along with access to public transport links and local amenities. Upgrades to a section of the Gipping Valley Path adjacent to Gateway 14 have recently been completed helping to increase plant life and wildlife as well as improving public access along the river. Biodiversity on the site is also a priority, with high-quality landscaping, green corridors and nesting boxes all being introduced. The Range is one of the fastest growing retailers in the UK, with over 200 retail stores nationwide and a further 100 planned. It already has two existing major distribution centres in the UK and the new site at Freeport East will help meet consumer demand in the South and South East.