Norfolk County Council tells The Manufacturer why major improvements to Norfolk’s road infrastructure has made the county a bright option for boosting start-ups and businesses considering relocation.
Specialist manufacturer Warings Furniture is one of Norfolk’s success stories, counting some of Britain’s leading brands among its customers. The firm employs 130 people and has a turnover of £8.5m.
Founded by Graham Waring in 1986, the business which he jointly owns and runs with his wife Rachael, designs and manufactures contract furniture for clients across the hospitality industry.
These include Jamie’s Italian; Costa Coffee; Pret-a-Manger; Pizza Express; Travelodge, and Center Parcs.
The company also supplies to customers in Europe and Asia, making inroads into the lucrative Chinese market, where it created a new company, Warings International, to work with existing clients as they sought to open new outlets.
Back in Norfolk, Warings Furniture is located on a 17-acre site in a corner of south-west Norfolk, surrounded by fields. Despite the green surroundings, it is just a short drive from the now fully dualled A11, and close to the main distribution hubs at Snetterton.
The recent £105m dualling of the main route in and out of Norfolk has not only benefitted Warings, but has begun to attract other leading companies into the area, including parcel firm DPD, which opened up a £1.2m depot at Snetterton in 2013.
The faster access is helping to change perceptions of Norfolk, raising awareness of its manufacturing offer, and its potential to attract inward investment.
“We design here, and we make the prototypes here, and everything which comes through is finished here,” Waring said.
“We ship our own products and have vehicles right around the country and also Ireland and Europe. We are also close to where some of our goods come in and out of the country at Felixstowe. Getting down the A11 and the A14 is very important to us.
“Our vehicles are now getting back quicker, they are not sitting in traffic anymore, and we are saving on fuel. We can get to London and the east side of the city in about 1hr 50 minutes, that’s great for us.”
Warings Furniture has benefitted from advice and support from Norfolk County Council’s economic development team, as well as receiving grant funding from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.
Norfolk is a fast growing location, offering a great place to live, work, visit, and an excellent environment for businesses to start, grow and innovate. Quality, cost-effective commercial property, lower than average business operating cost, and a great quality of life and affordable property and living costs for staff.
As well as a fully dualled A11, there are improvements planned to both the A47 and the Norwich to London rail line. The county is already home to great brands such as Aviva; Lotus; Virgin Money; Bernard Matthews; Britvic, and Colman’s.