Yesterday’s ‘ground-breaking’ ceremony (Thursday 26th January 2023) saw Mid Suffolk District Council leader Cllr Suzie Morley and Alex Simpkin, CEO of The Range put the first spades in the ground to officially mark the start of the development.
Once completed, The Range, one of the fastest growing retailers in the UK, is set to create around 1650 jobs for the district. The Range already has two existing major distribution centres in the UK and the new site will help meet consumer demand in the South and South East of the country while also supporting operations across the UK including 100 new stores across the UK and a rapidly expanding e-commerce business.
The development of the 1.17m sq ft high specification distribution centre, is the first building at Gateway 14, a new business, innovation and logistics park located outside Stowmarket, Suffolk. Winvic Construction has been appointed to deliver this new facility.
Gateway 14 Ltd (wholly owned by Mid Suffolk District Council) and development partner, Jaynic, will provide a new base for manufacturing, logistics and R&D businesses with a particular focus on innovation and sustainability at Gateway 14 as well as providing innovation space for smaller and start-up businesses that will boost the local economy and attract investment into the region.
Cllr Suzie Morley, Mid Suffolk District Council leader, said: “The first spade in the ground at Gateway 14 marks an important milestone in the progress of Gateway 14. Welcoming a national brand such as The Range as the first occupier is very positive, not only creating job opportunities but also providing a boost for the local economy.”
Gateway 14 chair Sir Christopher Haworth said: “This is a significant milestone in the development of Gateway 14 and realises our ambition of welcoming national brands to the region. I am delighted that we have an excellent team to deliver this project and look forward to working with them to create a landmark development that is high-quality, sustainable, and fit for the future.”
The Range’s Alex Simpkin said: “This a major landmark in the expansion of The Range with an eastern region distribution hub with a particular focus on the creation of a sustainable warehouse building together with 1,650 jobs for the region. We look forward to the opening of the building in the next 12 months.”
Ben Oughton, development director, Jaynic, the development partners for the project said: “The start on site for the Range so soon after construction of the infrastructure began, highlights the strength of demand for this prime location adjacent to Junction 50 of the A14 and is the culmination of several years work to deliver a modern and innovative business park for the area.”
Danny Nelson, Director of Industrial, Distribution & Logistics at Winvic, said: “I’d like to thank new client Jaynic for having confidence in our team to deliver this impressive facility for their occupier The Range. We’re delighted to have started on site and we will be aiming to exceed expectations every step of the way.”
In addition, Gateway 14 benefits from being part of Freeport East, one of only eight Freeports in the UK.
The Freeport status will provide many businesses on Gateway 14 with a range of benefits including a suite of tax reliefs and simplified customs arrangements, together with partnering to deliver innovation and skills support for the wider community.
Today’s ground-breaking marks the first building under construction across any of the Freeport East sites which include Felixstowe, Harwich and four customs sites.
Stephen Beel, Chief Executive of Freeport East said: “The ground-breaking at Gateway 14 marks the first new development for Freeport East since it was formally approved by Government at the start of 2023. Gateway 14’s Freeport status will help attract new and innovative businesses to the region and provide extensive re-skilling and up-skilling opportunities.”
Gateway 14 will provide high specification buildings with sustainability a central feature including EV charging, LED lighting, solar PV, smart energy systems and rainwater harvesting. The development is committed to meeting BREEAM rating of Very Good standard and strive for Excellent wherever possible as well as delivering low carbon and net zero solutions where possible. The distribution facility for The Range will be designed to achieve BREEAM excellent.
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, attractive, and healthy working environment for employees.