Smart Garden Offices says move to Thurston has brought the world closer

Mark Penlington, left, chairman of the New Anglia LEP with Charlie Dalton, founder of Smart Garden Offices and one of his Ultra  buildings ANL-150428-163713001
Mark Penlington, left, chairman of the New Anglia LEP with Charlie Dalton, founder of Smart Garden Offices and one of his Ultra buildings ANL-150428-163713001
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Charlie Dalton says moving Smart Garden Offices’ factory to Thurston has brought them ‘half an hour closer to the world’.

The company he founded in 2001 moved from Ash Bocking in February and its new factory was officially opened by Conservative parliamentary candidate Jo Churchill and Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, last week.

Charlie said: “ We wanted to improve our logistics. Ash Bocking is a long way from the A14 and Thurston has cut half an hour off all our journeys.

“We install right across the country.”

The new 2.5 acre site gives them 15,000sq ft of factory space, which is three times more than they had and production is already up 30 per cent. They employ 20 staff and will now be recruiting locally.

The factory made sheds, which Charlie says is ironic because he bans ‘the S-word’.

He said. “We use the terms garden office, garden studio or garden room. It is designed to be used 365 days a year – it’s like another room.”

As they are not built to be lived in, you do not usually need planning permission.

That saw the company expand during the recession, helped by a LEP grant, because many businesses wanting to leave rented offices, bought a Smart Garden Offices building. Charlie says they got their cost back in about 15 months. Prices are from about £5,000 to £30,000.