After almost a year of complex negotiation, Chelmsford City Council has this week completed the sale of the freehold of the former Britvic site to Aberdeen Asset Management.
The new owner will work with Exton Estates, a private property company specialising in the investment and development of office and industrial property in London and the South East markets, to bring forward comprehensive proposals for the redevelopment of the site. It is intended that site will be developed as a new retail and business park subject to planning permission being obtained.
Britvic has been connected to Chelmsford since the mid-nineteenth century, when a local chemist began making flavoured mineral waters.
Chelmsford City Council is able to reassure those members of the public who have expressed concerns about the fate of the Britvic site, and in particular the clock tower, that the tower will continue to be protected and will remain part of the city.
Leader of Chelmsford City Council, Councillor Roy Whitehead, said: “The closure of the Britvic factory resulted in the loss of many jobs and the City Council has spent a long time in ensuring that the former Britvic factory did not end up as a warehouse facility with few employment opportunities. I am delighted that the plans for the site will now include both retail and business parks and that a large number of new jobs will be created.
He added: “Successful cities are always changing, although the news that the future of the BHS store in Chelmsford is in doubt will be of great concern to those employed there. However, the new Britvic development and also development of the adjoining site, for which a planning application has been made, will create new jobs for local people and secure Chelmsford’s position as a leading regional centre in the East of England. While we continue to grow and develop the city for the 21st century, we have to ensure that our residents have the opportunity to work here, so I am delighted that this sale will bring the site back into use as soon as possible and retain icons like the Britvic clock tower which remind us of our heritage.”
Fund Manager at Aberdeen Asset Management, Kerri Hunter, said “We are delighted to have secured this vacant brownfield site which we propose to regenerate by developing a comprehensive mixed use scheme comprising retail and industrial uses. We intend to deliver a high quality development that will improve the immediate environment, attract a good calibre of occupiers and deliver significant economic benefits for Chelmsford including local job creation.”