Sustainable building materials company Assan Panel agrees terms on an 86,565 sq ft manufacturing unit at Gateway 14, Stowmarket, Suffolk

19 Jun 2024

A world leader in sustainable building materials has confirmed plans to locate its first UK manufacturing facility at the state-of-the-art Gateway 14 business, innovation and logistics park adjacent to Junction 50 of the A14 in Stowmarket, Suffolk, that forms part of the Freeport East zone.

 Assan Panel, a major affiliate of Kibar Holding, a renowned name in Turkey’s industrial sector, has confirmed its plans to occupy a 86,565 sq ft manufacturing building that will create around 100 highly skilled jobs in Stowmarket and bring an investment of up to £45m into the region.

Gateway 14, led by Mid Suffolk District Council-owned Gateway 14 Ltd with property development partner Jaynic has agreed terms with Assan for the building and a reserved matters planning application has been submitted to Mid Suffolk District Council.

This deal follows closely on the heels of another a major supplier of eco-friendly construction materials who has signed up for a 44,000 sq ft manufacturing unit subject to a reserved matters planning application that is currently being considered by Mid Suffolk Council and is in line with the park’s overall sustainability ethos. Buildings are designed to BREEAM excellent standard which includes an EPC A rating, EV charging, LED lighting, solar PV, smart energy systems and rainwater harvesting, delivering low carbon and net zero solutions where possible.

Jaynic’s development director Ben Oughton said: “We are pleased to be making strong headway at Gateway 14 where potential occupiers see the benefits that Gateway 14 provides with its freeport status as well as underlining its sustainability and locational advantages sitting next to Junction 50 of the A14 providing direct trunk road access into the UK motorway system.

Sir Christopher Haworth, chairman of Gateway 14 Ltd, said: “The fact that Assan Panel has chosen Gateway 14 for its first UK manufacturing facility is fantastic news. We already have a cluster of innovative businesses set to move in, and alongside the planned Skills and Innovation Centre, people can start to see the exciting opportunities that the business park will deliver.”

Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for housing and property, Cllr Richard Winch said: “The green economy is an emerging market that we are keen to encourage in Mid Suffolk, and as part of our aspirations for Gateway 14.  Pending planning permission, we are delighted to welcome a leader in the sustainable construction sector to the site.”

Steve Beel, Chief Executive of Freeport East, comments: “This announcement represents a real milestone in strengthening the presence of green industry in and around the Stowmarket and wider Freeport East area. As well as direct job creation, the investment will provide opportunities to build strong local R&D relationships with universities and drive the development of the skills and innovation cluster at Gateway 14.

“With close proximity to the Port of Felixstowe and the flexibility of the freeport customs model, locating in Freeport East provides Assan Panel with the ideal base from which to serve both UK and European markets. We are confident this is a model that will encourage other international manufacturers to consider Freeport East as a future strategic location.”

Haluk Kayabaşı, CEO of Kibar Holding, commented: “Kibar Holding, one of the leading groups of the Turkish industry, under which Assan Panel operates, is taking firm steps forward on its globalization journey with its unabated investment moves. We aim to further strengthen our presence in the European market with the new facility investment of Assan Panel in the UK, which has previously increased its presence abroad with the investments it has realized in Jordan and Azerbaijan. By making a difference with the innovative, pioneering, sustainable, energy-efficient products we offer, we serve for the transition in European sandwich panel market for sustainable solutions, and now with more concentration in the UK.”

Councillor Richard Smith MVO, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Skills, Transport Strategy and Waste, said: “It is excellent news that Assan Panel will manufacture its panels here in Suffolk. This is a substantial investment which will create many new local jobs and be a significant boost for Suffolk’s manufacturing sector, and I would like to commend the joint inward investment and Freeport East teams for their important role in securing it.”

Gateway 14, is East Anglia’s largest business park, providing 2.36 million sq. ft. of accommodation and as part of Freeport East, the site offers tax reliefs and simplified customs arrangements and is fast becoming a hub for manufacturing, logistics, and R&D firms.

The park is already home to a new 1.17m sq ft distribution hub for garden and leisure retailer The Range, which is due to be operational later this year and Mid Suffolk District Council also recently approved a business case for a new £18m Skills and Innovation Centre for Gateway 14 to help address the local skills gap and seize opportunities around growing sectors such as digital/AI technology and the green economy.