Barton Turf boatyard opens new £450,000 workshop

A boatyard has invested £450,000 in a new workshop to support its success in keeping alive traditional Broads craftsmanship.

The enlarged work and storage building will open up new possibilities for Cox's Boatyard, in Staithe Road, Barton Turf, which has just landed a contract to service four Broads Authority launches.

Staff will celebrate the opening of the steel-framed workshop, built in 22 weeks and to budget by PJ Spillings of Lowestoft, on Tuesday.

The project involved installing more than 100 piles to support the structure; its design has increased both the floor space and height of the doors so it now has the capacity to house up to 16 boats.

A concrete floor provides the perfect surface to manoeuvre vessels using a remote-controlled boat transporter bought by Cox's 12 months ago.

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Yard manager Eric Bishop said: 'We are delighted that all the careful planning and budgeting that was involved in designing and constructing the new workshop has paid off and that we now have up-to-date facilities that will enhance the services we are able to offer.'

Since nearly folding in the mid 1990s and being rescued by a group of local businessmen, Cox's Boatyard has built a national reputation for the quality of its work, repairing both wooden and fibre-glass boats and carrying out engine maintenance.

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Mr Bishop, who leads a team of four including a young apprentice, said: 'The enlarged workshop will allow us to look at expanding our workforce.

'We have been looking to diversify the range of our work and the team's specialist skills were recently put to good use in the construction of floating nest rafts for birds that are now in location in several parts of the country.'

He said the turnover had steadily increased and this year held at £400,000 despite the disruption of the major building work on site.

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