North Norfolk jobs to be created as expansion of boat building business is approved

Up to 26 new jobs could be created in north Norfolk after plans to expand a successful premium boat building business were given the green light.

Planning chiefs voted unanimously in favour of proposals to rebuild part of a workshop currently used by Oyster Marine at Tilia Business Park in Tunstead Road, Hoveton.

Chris Hovey, representing applicant Tilia Business Park, said expanding the property would enable Oyster Marine to build an extra six boats per year, securing the existing 94 jobs and creating up to 26 more.

He said rejecting the proposals would mean the boat builder, which had chosen to move its production to Hoveton from several sites overseas, might move its business to larger premises out of north Norfolk and potentially out of the county.

Moving to approve the application, Benji Cabbell Manners said: 'I think it is a brilliant scheme. It is jobs and it is in a business park. That's what business parks do.'

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Michael Baker said: 'We have got a success story here. We are in the grip of one of the worst recessions in Christendom.

'I think the landlord should be applauded for getting on and investing at one of the worst economic times we have seen.'

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Richard Shepherd added: 'It is a marvellous scheme. It is the industry we want and it is more people being employed in the right place.'

The new building is a replacement for part of the eastern side of the premises, which the applicant says is difficult to use for modern industrial practices.

The footprint of the new extension would be marginally smaller than the building it is to replace but would have a mezzanine floor, which would increase the floor space by more than 200m. The new facilities would be more energy efficient and provide three boat building bays and office space.

Oyster Marine took over the production facilities in Hoveton from boat builder Landamores earlier this year after 40 years of working with the firm.

The Highways Authority had asked for application to be refused unless the main access for the whole of the business park was moved to Belaugh Road, where there is already an entrance. They argued the Tunstead Road access was not suitable for any further intensification of development and objected in particular to any increase in the number of large boat transporters accessing the site.

Mr Hovey said all boat transporters had escort vehicles and the extra movement would be a maximum of 12 per year.

Two letters of objection were received from local residents, who raised concerns over noise, pollution and emissions from chemical and dust creating activities associated with boat building.

The application was approved by North Norfolk District Council's development committee on Thursday, December 13, subject to environmental health restrictions.

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