Bartrums of Eye has begun work on the 70,000sq ft storage facility – which also includes a two-storey office block and a large canopy at the front. It is building it speculatively as part of its growth strategy.
The £32m family-owned firm – which has a workforce of 250 – said it was responding to strong demand for warehousing in Norfolk and Suffolk which has “significantly outstripped” availability.
Operations director Tremayne Johnson said it was important to invest in the business as major infrastructure projects in the region such as Sizewell C took shape in order to ensure it stays “relevant to the opportunities which exist”.
“Bartrums is already firmly established as one of Suffolk’s largest hauliers and has a transport portfolio that encompasses palletised network distribution, express van transport, general haulage and bulk haulage,” he said
“The family wished to see the business expand and the most appropriate way of achieving growth was through expanding our warehousing offer. Suffolk has recently benefited from serious commercial developments in Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Ipswich and the business did consider these options.
“However, we took the opportunity to purchase land in Eye and invest in a project suitable for our future needs. That development will be complete in early January and the finished warehouse will be a significant asset to the Bartrums business and the customers it serves.”
To safeguard the project, the company bought the steel for the build back in 2021 and is hoping works will be completed within six months.
Cousins Shaun and Robert Bartrum are the third generation to run the business, which was started by their grandfather Leonard in 1929.
Longstanding employee John Youell – whose father Fred Youell was employed by Leonard Bartrum and stayed with the business for almost four decades – was chosen to perform the official ground-breaking ceremony.
Fred worked with Leonard’s three sons, Roger, Phillip and Roy, and John has been with Bartrums for nearly 50 years.
The company will be leasing the roof area of the new build to neighbouring firm Permastore. It will be covered with solar panels – making it a highly eco-friendly build.
Permastore sold 3.6 acres of surplus land to the west of its fabrication buildings to Bartrum Group to enable it to construct the new warehouse – and for Permastore to install the solar array to supplement its energy needs.
As part of the land transaction a 25-year lease back agreement has been signed allowing Permastore to use the entire roof space of the new warehouse.
The solar array comprises around 3,700 panels which will produce up to 1.4mW of energy – providing about a quarter of Permastore’s annual electricity usage.
Permastore chief executive Dr Frank Cutri said: “This project is mutually beneficial for both businesses as it will allow the Bartrum Group to expand their business with more warehousing space, and for Permastore to progress its carbon neutral plans a step further.
“This announcement comes shortly after the company has agreed a deal with Tata Steel that allows it to offer options for Zeremis Carbon Lite low carbon footprint manufactured steel in its Glass-Fused-to-Steel modular bolted storage containment tanks and silos.”
Permastore is a specialist engineering company which designs and manufactures storage containment silos and tanks for a host of industry customers in sectors including municipal, agricultural and biofuel.