Jedburgh boss brings company HQ to Borders

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A specialised plant fire firm is to centralise its operation in the Borders later this year in a move that will create 14 jobs.

Astra Site Services’s HQ is moving from Bathgate to a site close to its current operation at Tweed Horizons, near Newtown St Boswells.

The company’s marketing, telesales, logistics and hire fulfilment teams are involved.

In addition to the 14 jobs in the Borders, a further 15 will be created when new depots open in Aberdeen, Newcastle, East London and Eire next year. The new depots will compliment existing ones in West London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Bathgate.

Astra, hailed as the UK’s largest supplier of hydraulic excavator attachments, services the demolition, construction and rail industries, and its managing director is Mark Graham, who grew up in Jedburgh and still resides in the Borders.

He told us: “From the start, my vision has always been to create a spine of depots that would run the length of the country, with operations centralised in the Borders.

“The region has a wealth of talent that is not being tapped into by our industry. I want to hire the best and make them even better by providing them with opportunities to develop their careers within Astra.

“Centralisation will be fundamental to our continued success as it will ensure key departments work more productively together, making us more reactive to customers’ needs.”

Over the past six months, Astra says it has invested £1.3million in new excavator attachments and renewed its transport fleet at a cost of more than £300,000 and invested £256,000 in the development of a new concrete crusher.

He added: “In the past an excavator dug holes, now it is more like a Swiss Army knife and can do a wide range of jobs, depending on which hydraulic attachment you fit.”

Mr Graham, who launched Astra in 1998, praised staff at the Borders offices of Business Gateway for their assistance.

Gateway’s Sheena Campbell said: “Mark has many years of experience. He knows the Borders has a lot to offer his business.”