Cocoa

Suffolk’s chocolate factory welcomed as ‘great for the village’ at Easter

The  GCB (Guan Chong Berhad) Cocoa factory at the former Philips Avent site in Glemsford.

The GCB (Guan Chong Berhad) Cocoa factory at the former Philips Avent site in Glemsford.

The impact of a Suffolk chocolate factory has been welcomed in a village as it marks one year in operation.

In the spring of last year, it was announced that Malaysian company GCB (Guan Chong Berhad) Cocoa would manufacture liquid and solid chocolate at a factory near Sudbury.

It was operational from April at a 17-acre site in Lower Road in Glemsford, which had been under construction since 2022.

The company is based in Johor in Malaysia and believed to be the world’s fourth largest manufacturer of cocoa-derived foods, which include cocoa mass, cocoa butter, cocoa cake and cocoa powder.

East Anglian Daily Times: MP for South Suffolk James Cartlidge visited the new factory last year.East Anglian Daily Times: MP for South Suffolk James Cartlidge visited the new factory last year.

East Anglian Daily Times: MP for South Suffolk James Cartlidge visited the new factory last year.

MP for South Suffolk James Cartlidge visited the new factory last year. (Image: The office of James Cartlidge MP)

Steven Plumb, Glemsford councillor, said: “The factory is recruiting, and there have been a couple of planning permissions for work at the site.

“It opened last year and is producing some product. Although I am the one person in Glemsford who doesn’t like chocolate, I think it’s a good development for Glemsford.

“I was very shocked when we lost Philips Advent. It was the sort of organisation where we had people in Glemsford who were there for three generations, so it’s nice to have the employment back for here, which is needed all over the county.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Philips Avent in Glemsford. Picture: Phil MorleyEast Anglian Daily Times: Philips Avent in Glemsford. Picture: Phil Morley

East Anglian Daily Times: Philips Avent in Glemsford. Picture: Phil Morley

Fellow councillor Michael Holt added: “I wholeheartedly think it’s a good development for Glemsford and Babergh as a whole.

“It’s a project that is ongoing, but I am hopeful it will deliver employment opportunities.”

The site was a Philips Avent baby products factory until it closed in July 2020, affecting 425 jobs and leaving concerns over employment in the area.

East Anglian Daily Times: Councillor Michael Holt.East Anglian Daily Times: Councillor Michael Holt.

East Anglian Daily Times: Councillor Michael Holt.

Councillor Michael Holt. (Image: Babergh District Council)

The chocolate company took over the site in November 2020, promising to invest £62.2million into the plant and restore 220 jobs – with planning permission granted in December 2021.

While the company’s initial planning applications were granted in the last few years, a new application is currently under consideration for discharge of conditions, mainly relating to noise conditions.

A noise impact assessment has been submitted to Babergh District Council, along with noise surveys and acoustic reports.

The plans include sketches of inside the factory, including a canteen, laboratory, packaging halls, depositing lines, chocolate production areas, with powder dumping sections.


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