Council will borrow £7.5 million for new A120 business park

Main image: Uttlesford District Council; Inset: Sign for the Banana Depot in Little Canfield, Essex

UDC has agreed to stump up £7.5 million for a new Little Canfield Business Park - Credit: Google Earth/Archant

An Essex council will borrow millions of pounds from local authorities across the UK to build a new A120 business park.

Uttlesford District Council said spending £7.5 million on Little Canfield Business Park will provide business opportunities.

But members from UDC opposition groups have raised concerns about a lack of green features on the site given the size of the investment.

Money has been allocated from the council's £300m commercial fund, but most of the cash will be borrowed from other councils.

Supporting the business park, Councillor Neil Reeve said at a meeting yesterday (October 6): "This proposal gives excellent opportunity for the regeneration of Uttlesford business."


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However, Liberal Democrat group leader Melvin Caton asked if some of the investment could go towards renewable energy sources such as solar panels or a wind turbine.

He said: "It is the biggest investment this council is going to make - and we are supposedly wanting to become carbon neutral - and yet we haven't seen how we can maximise the environmental capacity of this site to actually mitigate some of the climate change impacts on the residents."

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Cllr Reeve responded saying the council did have green credentials, such as green vehicle washdown, recycling and solar facilities at a proposed council workshop on site.

However, the meeting heard that the main unit - the former banana depot - is not physically strong enough to bear the load.

A sign to the former banana depot in Little Canfield, near Takeley

The former banana depot in Little Canfield will be turned into a business park under council plans - Credit: Google Earth

A total £6 million will be borrowed from other authorities at an interest rate of 0.3%, while £1.5 million would come from a 40-year fixed-payment loan with a 2.86% interest rate.

Rent in the park is expected to be in be around £425,000 per year, depending on the number and type of tenants.

The scheme attracted criticism from Cllr Caton when the cabinet originally proposed the £7.5 million spend in July.

He said: "My one reservation about the park is that it won't be a park - It is likely to be one tenant.

"I would prefer a range of businesses, but in any case, we must look at the employment benefits."

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