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Workforce at major industrial site in west Suffolk could be saved as buyers express interest

Sudbury's business community had the chance to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the town's location at a meeting on Friday Picture: HARRIET STEER

Sudbury's business community had the chance to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the town's location at a meeting on Friday Picture: HARRIET STEER

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Credible potential buyers have “expressed interest” in purchasing a major industrial site in Sudbury and retaining its workforce, according to a Suffolk MP.

Delphi Diesel Systems will leave the site in 2020 Picture: GREGG BROWNDelphi Diesel Systems will leave the site in 2020 Picture: GREGG BROWN

Delphi Diesel Systems announced in August last year that the site will fully close by 2020, with the loss of around 500 jobs.

A taskforce – chaired by South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge – was set up in the wake of the announcement with the aim of safeguarding the site.

A meeting was held on Friday and the business community in Sudbury had the chance to discuss the town’s strengths and weaknesses as a location with members of the South Suffolk Taskforce.

Since its inception, the taskforce has stressed that the best future for the Newton Road plant is industrial use while retaining the workforce.

Following the Sudbury Business Forum event at Sudbury Town Hall, Mr Cartlidge said: “All the members of the taskforce agree that the best future for the plant is continued industrial use preserving as many of those jobs as possible – conscious as we are that this is a very local workforce drawn primarily from Sudbury and south Suffolk, with an excellent skill set that we hope would be attractive to potential buyers.

“We have therefore engaged with the business department in Whitehall to help us go through their networks to bring forward potential interest.

“I can confirm that these efforts have been productive and have resulted in credible potential buyers coming forward to express interest in the purchase of the site on an industrial basis, and that potentially buyers we have engaged with see the principal asset of the business as its workforce.”

Mr Cartlidge said that due to ongoing negotiations, he could not provide further details, but stressed the taskforce was “hopeful of a successful outcome”.

He added: “I am conscious that in our last evidence session on May 18, the union and workers present stressed that within months we would reach a tipping point with the rate of departure of key staff from the site likely to accelerate.

“As time has moved on since then I therefore wanted to send a message to Delphi staff that while nobody can provide guarantees of a particular conclusion at this stage – we are hopeful of a successful outcome that supports local and good quality employment at the plant as far as possible.”

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