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Ben’s making sure park life blossoms

Driving through the somewhat barren Suffolk Park right now, you get a real sense of hope and expectation.

Business parks are sensible barometers of the strength and aspirations of a town or city and this one has all the hallmarks of a place in which thousands of people will eventually visit, work – and be impressed by.

Suffolk Park sits on the eastern outskirts of Bury St Edmunds – the Moreton Hall end of town – and is presently a series of £4m roads and infrastructure just off the A14.

Late last year, two new logistics warehouses were completed. These were built speculatively by the park’s developer Jaynic. From the A14, the warehouses are well screened but, up close and personal, the scale is vast. The units have already attracted serious interest from a handful of interested parties -– and the hopes are that they will be fully occupied and operational later this year.

Already, there is outline planning permission for 2 million square feet of business use and the park has already been secured as the impressive new HQ for flavour and fragrance company Treatt. Jaynic is due to start construction in May. Elsewhere on the site, Sealey has bought an area of land to allow for future development and there is a sizeable Enterprise Zone for smaller industrial units. Neighbours to the site include Audi and Sealey on one side, the A14 on another, Rougham Industrial Estate on another and Sybil Andrews Academy plus Skyliner Sports Centre

The fact that Suffolk Park and Jaynic were chosen by Treatt is a decision which has pleased the company’s development director Ben Oughton.

I met Ben in the firm’s temporary site offices in early March and he was enthusiastic about getting the deals signed on the two completed units and then ‘working up plans for some more speculative units on the site, each between 70,000 and 200,000 square feet in size’.

He was also hugely enthusiastic about securing the overall sponsor slot for this year’s Bury Free Press Business Awards.

Ben started work in Cambridge with the then Januarys Chartered Surveyors in 1988 and became a director, before buying out part of the Januarys business with a fellow director to form Jeffersons. A decade later, in 2011, Ben was joint head of the commercial division of Carter Jonas in the eastern region, with which Jeffersons had merged – and one of their clients over the years had been Nic Rumsey, founder of Jaynic. Ben jumped ship and joined Nic at Jaynic a couple of years ago. That partnership is now starting to bear fruit.

“One of the biggest challenges any developer has on a business park of this size with hundreds of acres of fields, is bringing it forward so that the scheme is deliverable.

“So we secured outline consent for 2m square feet, and that establishes the principle of development.

“We have worked very closely with our planning authority at St Edmundsbury and its economic development team along with New Anglia LEP – especially with the LEP on the New Enterprise Zone. We have an application in with the LEP for some grant funding for an innovation centre and our aspiration is to bring that forward and build that as soon as possible. That building will be a mix of business units – technology, innovation, potentially bio but also traditional business space and that’s very important as it’s a catalyst for growth and natural churn.

“One of the other challenges we are facing at the moment is trying to bring some amenities to the park – somewhere for people to grab a sandwich or do a quick shop at lunchtime. Business parks thrive on having user-friendly facilities in a structured, place-made environment which is what we hope to bring forward at Suffolk Park.”

Jaynic’s involvement with West Suffolk – and its previous business incarnation as Carisbrooke Investments – developed Haverhill Business Park, moved on to Haverhill Research Park and is now at the forefront of one of the largest business developments in the area.

“Suffolk Park is a very strategic location in terms of road network and Bury is a very lovely place to live for any company recruiting. It’s an appealing place to work and live.”

That’s also the main reason Jaynic has decided to sponsor this year’s Bury Free Press Business Awards – keen to secure its part in the fabric of the business community in West Suffolk and build even better relationships with some of the key players in industry here.

Ben added: “The opportunity to be the main sponsor of these awards allows Jaynic to put its brand ‘on the map’ and equally importantly to celebrate entrepreneurial success and achievement in Bury St Edmunds, the commercial lifeblood of West Suffolk.”

The Bury Free Press Business Awards are now in their eighth year and bring together excellence in the business community from all sectors. There are 12 awards for 2019 and these culminate in a glitzy awards ceremony at The Apex in October. Nominate businesses and individuals for awards and attend the awards night are online via http://imlevents.co.uk/