A boat builder is embarking on a recruitment drive after securing planning permission for a new factory near Derby.
Aqua Narrowboats – currently based at Mercia Marina – will construct the 7,500 sq ft building at the Tomlinson Business Park in Foston.
Due to open in September, the factory will enable to firm to ramp up production.
An artist’s impression of the new factory
Managing director Justin Hudson-Oldroyd said the investment will lead to 14 new jobs by 2021 – with two new staff already recruited.
He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us and the whole team are keen to move in so that we can continue to be progressive and innovate the inland boating building industry.
“We have enjoyed our time at Mercia Marina but we outgrew the premises a number of years ago and have been unable to expand at the site.
“Our new development will provide us with much-needed space allowing us to increase production and productivity.”
Aqua Narrowboats specialises in the building and fitting out of narrow boats, using hulls from other manufacturers. It has a team of craftspeople, including joiners, engineers and electricians, who fit out the boats to customer specifications.
The new factory building – which will include a 40-tonne crane and boat testing tank – has been designed in such a way to accommodate the hulls. It will have enough space to allow the firm to work on three boats at a time.
There will also be a new showroom/display area on the first-floor of the building, to show off some of the fixtures, fittings and other products to customers by appointment.
Aqua Narrowboats specialises in the building and fitting out of narrow boats
As part of the expansion, the company will also be relocating its luxury hire boats to Barton Turns Marina, on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire.
Mr Hudson-Oldroyd said this move will allow hirers to enjoy an additional day’s cruising.
He said: “We are thrilled to be moving the luxury hire fleet to Barton Turns Marina – another prestigious marina with the same feel as Mercia Marina.
“We will still be providing the same high level of service we have always done but the marina’s position, closer to the heart of the Midlands canal network, will enable our customers much quicker access to Fradley Junction whilst still retaining our position on the Leicester Ring.”
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Aqua Narrowboats was founded in 2004 at Kings Bromley, in Staffordshire, when Mr Hudson-Oldroyd hand-built his first hire boat.
Four years later the firm expanded and moved to its current base at Mercia Marina, which is on the Trent and Mersey Canal.
It recruited local carpenters and engineers and quickly developed into a busy bespoke boat building and marine repairs centre.
The firm then expanded its services to include interior design, coming up with products that not only look good but make the most of the space available.
Source: Derby Telegraph