Plans revealed for £30m Sterling Suffolk tomato glasshouse scheme

Details of a £30m proposal to develop two tomato glasshouses totalling more than 20ha on the outskirts of Ipswich have been announced.

The location has been selected to make use of recycling company SITA UK's nearby energy-from-waste facility, a joint venture with Suffolk County Council that is currently being built.

SITA UK regional manager Cliff Matthews said only a large project could justify the expense of putting in the necessary heat pipeline, which is expected to cost £2m.

The company has collaborated with local farmers Michael Blakenham and Stephen Wright on the development, which could yield 7,500 tonnes of tomatoes a year. However, a planning application has yet to be submitted and a tenant grower is still to be found.

Blakenham explained: "It is early days and there are hurdles to overcome, but we hope to fill some of the gap in the market and at the same time bring much-needed jobs to the area."

Backers of the project, named Sterling Suffolk, hope that it will be in operation by December 2014, when the energy plant is due to open.


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