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Home > Business > Economic Development > Babergh district economic development

Babergh district economic development


The Babergh District is the southern part of the County of Suffolk, extending from Sudbury in the west, to Ipswich and the Shotley peninsula in the east. It is an economically diverse area which ranges from traditional retailing in market towns like Hadleigh and Sudbury (which are also home to a strong manufacturing sector) to local leisure facilities including championship golf courses and first-class sailing centres. The tranquil beauty spots of the internationally renowned areas of Constable Country, and the medieval wool villages at Lavenham and Kersey provide a high-quality of life for residents whilst forming the basis for a strong local tourism industry.  

Growth Prospects

South Suffolk has a number of advantages to attract businesses and inward investment. The workforce are adaptable and well trained in a variety of industries, from high volume precision engineering to customer services. 

Babergh is the home to a number of world renowned businesses ranging from traditional silk weaving and textile industry to large engineering companies. These include Philips Avent, Delphi Automotive Systems, Nestle Purina, and other specialist niche businesses such as Hadleigh Maid Chocolate, Jim Lawrence Traditional Ironworks, British Gaskets and Mauldons Brewery.   

Town Centre Improvements

The Council has worked to develop the Market Town Partnership in Sudbury, more recently helping with a bid to become a Portas Pilot. Work continues to develop a proposal to regenerate the Hamilton Road and Bus Station.  


The Council has been at the forefront of encouraging a balanced and stable enterprise culture since the early eighties. The Council, in partnership with Suffolk County Council, opened a fully serviced 24 unit managed workspace facility in Sudbury in December 1995. The South Suffolk Business Centre is based at Alexandra Road.

In 2004, a second centre was opened in Hadleigh – the ‘Hadleigh Business and Learning Centre’.  As well as offering business units, the centre also has a private kindergarten, thus providing an important range of services to centre tenants and to the wider business community on the Lady Lane Industrial Estate.  

Both centres provide a supported environment for start-up and growing businesses with the benefit of monthly licensed accommodation.

Planning for the future

In partnership with the community, the Council is planning for an active and healthy future, ensuring the provision of significant tracts of parkland, room for controlled residential growth, the regeneration of town centres, availability of a range of suitable industrial land and premises, and generally fostering economic and employment opportunities both for the urban areas and, importantly, the rural areas of the district.

Dry-port Project

Babergh is a key partner in the EU funded Dry-port Project. Dry-port is a three-year public/private sector Interreg North Sea Region project with partners from the ports and logistics sector, from local authorities representing important logistics areas and from key universities. Working together through a programme of workshops, studies and site visits, the Dry-port partners will examine the development, design and effective operation of dryports that are fully integrated with the freight handling systems of the seaport facilities they serve. Dry-port is about helping to support port capacity by improving hinterland distribution hubs and looking at the potential of ‘inland ports’ with multimodal connections.

Open for Business Survey

In the recently approved Babergh and Mid Suffolk Joint Strategic Plan for 2016-2020, both councils have made a firm commitment to support all businesses in the two districts  As well as attracting new businesses to the area, this also means helping smaller and start-up concerns facing issues in terms of access to finance, dealing with legislation and sharing ideas  and best practice as they strive to grow.  In order to do this, the councils undertook a survey of local businesses' views.  The information gathered from the  Open for Business Survey is instrumental in ensuring Babergh and Mid Suffolk are able to tailor their services and target  their resources.  This analysis gives a useful insight in tot he local business conditions in Babergh and Mid Suffolk districts.  The outputs and findings are relative to the study area and should be considered an indicator of the direction of travel rather than an absolute statement of intent.  The findings will be used alongside other evidence to develop an Open for Business Strategy to address any shortfalls in local business conditions.