The Claas Group has given approval for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art headquarters building for Claas UK and their dealer, Manns of Saxham, on Saxham Business Park near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
Over the course of the next five years, the multi-million pound project will see the complete redevelopment of the existing Claas and Manns site. Within this will be the construction of a new, signature building that reflects both the importance of Claas within the UK agricultural industry and also the site’s prominent position alongside the A14.
“By giving go-ahead for this new building, both the Claas Group and the Claas family have shown their commitment to both Claas in the UK, and also to west Suffolk where we are now one of the largest employers,” says Trevor Tyrrell, CEO of Claas UK.
Founded over 100 years ago and still privately owned by the Claas family, the Claas Group is one of the largest private agricultural machinery manufacturers in the world. Based in West Germany, the company operates 14 manufacturing plants around the Globe and employs over 11,300 people.
The history of Claas and Saxham goes back to the 1930’s when local farmer Bill Mann started importing CLAAS combines from Germany. The MANNS company moved to the site at Saxham during the 1950’s and the current headquarters building has been a landmark alongside the A14 for many years. It was constructed in the 1960’s and has been extended piecemeal since then.
Today, Claas UK employs over 400 people throughout the UK and Ireland and is the market leader for both combine harvesters and self-propelled forage harvesters, and has a rapidly growing customer base for Claas Tractors.
“When the current building was constructed, they would never have imagined that 50 years later we would now have over 100 people working on site and that as the headquarters for Claas UK, it would be providing sales, service, parts and training support to dealerships throughout the UK and Ireland, in addition to receiving visitors from around the world,” states Trevor Tyrrell. “The site is at maximum capacity.”
The site is also the headquarters for the Manns dealer group with six dealerships throughout the eastern counties. In addition, the Claas Academy training centre is located on the site, which provides over 4,000 training days for dealer personnel and customers every year.
The redevelopment of the site will take place in phases, the first of which is to relocate the Claas Academy to a separate building on-site, which has already started. The next phase is planned to commence mid-summer next year and will see the construction of new office space and the Manns dealership. The following phased elements will provide further offices, showroom and a parts storage and distribution centre, with completion expected in 2020.
Designed by architects Barber.Casanovas.Ruffles of Cambridge, the new state of the art building uses solar passive design techniques, renewable energy and rain water harvesting to support the daily operations. The building has a large north facing glazed facade to offer prominence to the A14 while providing views from inside the building to the surrounding countryside.
A central feature of the design is a new Technoparc machinery showroom, which will serve both as a display area for Manns, but also as a striking entrance and welcome area for visitors to Claas UK.
“The design gives us a building that is fit for the 21st century,” says Trevor Tyrrell. “It will improve the customer experience for Manns and for visitors to Claas UK, plus it will also enable us to provide a superb working environment for our employees. It will also incorporate a modern parts logistics warehouse, a more efficient workshop environment and allow us to make far better overall use of the site that will have a Health and Safety benefit.”
The redevelopment of the site is at an advanced pre-application planning level and scheme intentions have been discussed with planning officers and Councillors, receiving support in principle, subject to the submission of the detailed application for consideration.
It is planned that the planning application will be made in the New Year