Suffolk succeeds with Food Enterprise Zone bids

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The world-class excellence of the region’s food, drink and agricultural sector was recognised on Wednesday when the Government approved the creation of six new Food Enterprise Zones, two of which are in Suffolk.

The announcement, which followed successful bids by the New Anglia LEP, will see Babergh’s Orwell and Mid Suffolk’s Gipping Valley Food Clusters become vital economic hubs, boosting collaboration between sectors, bringing better connectivity to the supply chain and encouraging greater links with skills and agri-tech research.

The zones will each be set up using Government grants of £50,000 and will benefit from streamlined planning procedures, making it easier and cheaper for them to expand and grow.

The Orwell Food Cluster - near the banks of the River Orwell - is anchored around three existing operators, Suffolk Food Hall, East of England Co-operative and Jimmy’s Farm, while the Gipping Valley Food Cluster - agricultural land off the A14 at Stowmarket - links existing food producers and supply chain businesses.

Louise Rawsthorne, Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s Head of Service – Investment and Development, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in securing two Food Enterprise Zones for Babergh and Mid Suffolk.

“Both districts are located in the heart of the food and agricultural offer for Suffolk and are ideal locations for sustainable economic growth and this is a key priority for both councils.

“We hope that by securing these zones from Government that we can help raise the profile of small, specialist and artisan producers, as well as supporting local businesses and helping them to thrive and grow.”