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Backing for Fakenham firm

PUBLISHED: 12:37 08 July 2009 | UPDATED: 15:17 07 July 2010

A growing Fakenham firm is set to benefit from £400,000 of public cash which should secure its future in the town.

J W Automarine is a specialist producer of coated fabrics used for underwater salvage lifting bags, buoyancy aids and storage.

A growing Fakenham firm is set to benefit from £400,000 of public cash which should secure its future in the town.

J W Automarine is a specialist producer of coated fabrics used for underwater salvage lifting bags, buoyancy aids and storage.

It has produced props for the ames Bond film Casino Royale and its kit has helped recover mines from the sea.

But now the firm needs to expand and North Norfolk Council's cabinet, which met on Monday, has agreed a £400,000 grant to pay for it.

It will see a 1,000sqm extension to its factory, which is owned by the council, on Fakenham Enterprise Park, according to North Norfolk Council.

The firm already, owned by US-based Scholle, has planning permission for the extension.

JW Automarine, founded in 1972, has about 25 staff and has a rising turnover and increasing profits, according to a report to the council's cabinet.

It said: “The business operates in a very specialist market manufacturing underwater lifting equipment which could have increasing application in global markets, for example servicing the offshore energy sector.”

It supplies the military and NATO as well as film producers and many others.

It is one of only 18 international businesses operating in north Norfolk, said Robin Smith, economic and tourism development manager at North Norfolk Council.

“The company is significant to the wellbeing of north Norfolk,” he said. “And it shows an innovative firm can work from rural Norfolk.

“There are so few international companies trading from north Norfolk we wanted to demonstrate that, rather than seeing companies disinvest and look for opportunities to manufacture outside the district, we have in a very difficult recession agreed to spend £400,000 on building an extension.

“This will secure the medium term future of this company in north Norfolk. It will enable them to expand their manufacturing.”

The boost to Fakenham comes not long after Bedfordshire based emergency lighting firm P4 announced its plans to move to the town in September. It is hoped this will bring additional jobs.

Recent discussions of plans for housing in the district, including 800 new homes in Fakenham, had raised concerns about where those people would work in the town.

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