Norfolk

Colman's Mustard: New Honingham factory gets green light

Jar and tin of Colman's Mustard
Image caption Colman's Mustard could continue to be processed in Norfolk

Plans for a new factory that would keep part of Colman's Mustard production in Norfolk have been approved.

Broadland District Council gave the go-ahead after Colman's announced last year it was closing its Norwich site.

The plant at Honingham, near Norwich, will grind mustard seeds into flour and process mint for Colman's before the ingredients are sent to the Midlands.

However, there were objections to proposals over its 20m-high (66ft) milling tower and silos.

Owner Unilever announced it is to switch operations to Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire and sites in Germany later this year.

Image caption Uniliver's announced that its Colman's factory in Norwich would be closing in 2019

A farmer-backed consortium, Condimentum, applied to build the unit at the new Greater Norwich Food Enterprise Zone after securing a 10-year deal with Colman's owner Unilever.

Condimentum chief executive David Martin said the "state-of-the-art" plant would help to safeguard growers' futures.

"I am delighted we received unanimous approval," he said.

"We have growers investing in our business who have relationships that go back generations with Colman's".

The facility will provide about 25 jobs initially, but it is hoped it will eventually become a "global supplier of ingredients".

On Tuesday, a judicial review - brought by Easton Parish Council over concerns about planning application procedures - overturned the council's original decision in October to grant planning permission.

However, the council's planning committee voted unanimously in favour of it again.

'Environmental concerns'

Andrew Cawdron, of the Wensum Valley Alliance, said there were also concerns the new zone could pollute rivers, while the mill tower would spoil views of the rural area.

He said: "There are lots of industrial sites around Norwich and Norfolk where we could have placed this tower without any environmental impact.

"It does seem likes it's a device to get this new industrial estate going.

"All we can do is monitor events as they happen and try to make sure we don't get contamination to the river valleys."

The factory could be operating by the end of 2019, with Colman's set to leave Norwich later this year.

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