Issued: 2nd January 2018
Exciting times are ahead for Derbyshire based boat builder Aqua Narrowboats who have gained planning permission to build a 7500sqft purpose built factory in Foston, Derbyshire. The facility, which will include a 40 tonne crane and boat testing tank, will enable the business to increase production to allow them to build two new boats at a time, which will include both narrowboats and widebeam boats.
The company, who have been based at Mercia Marina for 9 years, have seen steady growth since establishing in 2004.
As part of the development a dedicated reception and showroom will be built. This will provide much needed space for their boat build customers as well as customers of their newly launched Aqua Furnishings business. This side of the business supplies and retails seating, blinds and soft furnishings for new and existing boat owners, and has also seen steady growth since launching in early 2017.
The increase in production and growth means that Aqua Narrowboats will be recruiting additional skilled craft people to keep up with demand. They will also be taking on new Apprentices to increase young talent and skills that the boat building industry is currently lacking.
As part of the expansion the company will also be relocating their luxury hire boats to Barton Turns Marina, on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire. This move will allow hirers quicker access onto the main canal network at Fradley Junction, gaining them an additional days cruising on a holiday.
Justin Hudson-Oldroyd, Managing Director 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 out grew the premises a number of years ago and have been unable to expand at the site.
Our new development which we move into in September 2018, will provide us with much needed space allowing us to increase production and productivity.
The factory will also provide a showroom and reception allowing us to create a better experience for both our Boat Build and Aqua Furnishings customers, something that we have aspired to for a number of years.
We are also thrilled to be moving the luxury hire fleet to Barton Turns Marina, another prestigious Marina with the same feel as Mercia. We will still be providing the same high level of service we have always done but the marinas position, closer to the heart of the canal network, will enable our customers much quicker access to Fradley Junction whilst still retaining our position on the Leicester Ring.”
BACKGROUND OF BUSINESS:
Aqua Narrowboats was established in 2004 with one hire boat fitted out by Justin and Jane Hudson-Oldroyd. The boat operated from Kings Bromley Marina and proved very popular. Another self-built boat was added in 2006 and the business continued to expand.
In 2008 a 10 year lease was obtained for the workshop at the newly built Mercia Marina and the hire boats were moved down from Kings Bromley. A Carpenter and Marine Engineer were taken on to expand the business into bespoke boat building and marine repairs. Throughout the recession the business has seen steady growth and now employs a total of 13 staff.
DEVELOPMENT & MOVE
Plans for the development can be found on the South Derbyshire Planning Portal – direct link to documents can be found here.
There are currently no plans to start building steel boat shells – these will continue to be outsourced from reputable shell builders.
Marine Engineering Work will cease at the end of 2017, other than work already booked in.
The Factory will be occupied from late September 2018 and the premises at Mercia Marina vacated in October 2018. The hire boats will be moved across to Barton Turns in January 2018 ready for the start of the season in March.
The new development will be freehold and owned entirely by Aqua Narrowboats.