The managing director of Aspall Cyder has told the Diss Express potential expansion plans to quadruple their production is required for their future and to maintain the current business.
The proposals would see a new press building, replacing the two presses which are nearly 30-years old, as well as storage, at their premises in Aspall.
The firm currently produces 2.5 million litres of cider a year. But due to customer demand, including a major food retailer which has offered a five-year contract on the basis of increased production, Aspall, which currently employs more than 100 staff, hopes it would be able to produce 10 million litres within the next three years.
A screening opinion application was submitted towards the end of last year to Mid Suffolk District Council, with the authority ruling an Environmental Impact Assessment was not required.
Managing director Des Smith said further consultation with the public was due to be held before a planning application would be submitted.
“We are still developing our plans in consultation with the local community so nothing is confirmed yet and as such we can’t give an idea of costs at this stage,” he said. “We need to replace the presses to maintain the existing business and for the future of Aspall.
“We held a public exhibition in December which 20-30 people attended and shared their views. We will hold a follow up consultation when we have developed the next stage of the plans, but we can’t say when that will be yet.
“The plans are still in development and nothing is finalised yet. We’re looking at all possible options and will continue to consult with the local community to take everyone’s opinions into consideration before submitting a formal planning application.”
Debenham Parish Council chairman Richard Blackwell said although it was good on the one hand a local business could expand, some concern had been expressed by residents over the potential increase in HGVs passing through their village.
“The main road through Debenham, the B1077, is not a particularly wide road and when cars are parked it is sometimes difficult for HGVs to come through. The main concern would be the potential increase in traffic, particularly the HGVs.”
Mr Smith said Aspall was to undertake a seven day traffic survey to monitor traffic ahead of submitting their application.