Mid Suffolk District Council has declined to comment on reports the council is planning to borrow £60 million to buy and develop land near Stowmarket.
According to a councillor report sent in error to the press, the scheme was discussed at a full council meeting on October 26 from which the public and press were excluded
It related to Gateway 14, a new 100 acre logistics and business park on junction 50 of the A14 and an item on the agenda specifically, named: Funding approval for acquisition of land.
According to a councillor report, Mid Suffolk Council proposes to borrow the money from the Public Works Loan Board ‘for land and infrastructure for Gateway 14’.
It goes on to say that Mid Suffolk would repay the money through the New Homes Bonus scheme, a grant paid by central government to local councils to incentivise housing growth in their areas.
A council spokesman said: “While we are happy to discuss our wider investment activities and how we make a profit for the purposes of improving services and regenerating our local areas, we will not be commenting on this specific speculative issue.”
According to the report, the land under consideration is next to Cedars Link, near Tesco, in Stowmarket and a ‘majority’ of councillors supported the proposal.
The New Homes Bonus (NHB) was introduced in 2011 to encourage local authorities to grant planning permission for new houses in return for additional revenue.
Grant funding is provided annually by central government to match the extra council tax raised by new-build homes, conversions and long-term empty homes brought back into use. Payments are also made for providing affordable homes.
According to the Gateway 14 website, it offers: ‘a safe investment alongside international companies in a major new business park strategically located in Eastern England’.
It says it will provide over one million sq.ft of logistics, warehousing, advanced manufacturing and business space.
The website states: ‘the development of potentially the largest new business park in Suffolk will over future years create opportunities for local businesses to grow from the construction, servicing and running of the Park.’
Under section marked, Park Amenities, it adds: ‘Businesses will be part of a growing community with several major residential developments newly allocated by the local authority supported by new education, health and sports facilities.
‘Approximately 40 acres of green space will include a new country park linked to housing areas by new cycle paths and bridle ways and to the town centre facilities by a riverside path.’
It notes: ‘Companies will enjoy the benefits of a location in one of the UK’s highest ranking districts for quality of life.’