James Heappey, the MP for Wells visited the Glastonbury branch of Bradfords Building Supplies, the country’s oldest builders’ merchant, to learn how the company is responding to today’s low carbon challenge and helping his constituents with greener living.
Heappey was welcomed by David Young, Bradford’s managing director, when he visited the 249-year old business to see the range of materials and products available to customers in Bradfords’ network of 42 branches throughout Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.
Building more homes and improving existing properties to upgrade their energy and thermal performance were top of the agenda. Investment to improve the energy efficiency of rural housing and generating heat from low- or zero-carbon sources is a core part of the merchant’s business.
Bradfords Building Supplies and its trade body, the Builders Merchants Federation, are concerned that the effort required to improve many more homes is unlikely to be completed. The worry is that obstacles that are common to insulating and heating – e.g. hassle, finding a reputable installer, and finance – put residents off. This despite many in Somerset who struggle with their energy bills.
Tightening the Building Regulations and higher performance standards are part of the solution – but compelling offers to entice ‘able to pay’ residents are also required. According to Young, there is plenty of scope to install loft and other types of insulation – as a well as efficient modern boilers and adjustable heating controls – that are inexpensive and straightforward to install.
After visiting the 1½-acre site, James Heappey MP said “I was delighted to visit Bradfords in Glastonbury and see for myself their contribution to the town and the Somerset economy. I congratulate Branch Manager, Jason Cooper, and his team who help customers with their home improvement projects. I wish Bradfords continued success as they approach their 250th year, a significant anniversary for any firm. Their knowledge and enthusiasm on how to help customers better insulate their homes and live in a cheaper and greener way was really encouraging”.
David Young, Managing Director of Bradfords Building Supplies said “We were delighted to welcome James Heappey and show him how Bradfords has evolved over two centuries. It is great to have our MP take an interest in local firms like ours, and offering his insight and support. I hope James can help raise the profile of merchants with his fellow MPs”.
The visit was another arranged by the BMF as part of its industry and parliament programme. The aim is to show MPs how trade essentials and value-added products get from quarries, brickworks, sawmills and factories to where they are needed – and to outline the role, value and importance of merchants in delivering for their communities.