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BBC highlights Frome firm’s emergency shelters

The Five Man Team  who put the shelter up: l-r, Anthony Battersby, Nick Stillwell, factory operatives Ryan Welch and Jolyon de Fossard and Mark Lloyd, general manager.

The Five Man Team who put the shelter up: l-r, Anthony Battersby, Nick Stillwell, factory operatives Ryan Welch and Jolyon de Fossard and Mark Lloyd, general manager.

Using its unique recycled plastic panels Protomax has unveiled a 16ft X 12ft warm, dry and spacious shelter which could replace temporary tents currently used as emergency shelters in disaster-struck areas.

The Protomax shelter, designed by ex-Royal Marine and architect Anthony Battersby who has experience of housing problems in under developed countries in Africa, together with the company’s founder Nick Stillwell, is seen as a semi-permanent solution to emergency housing.

The prototype has been erected at the Protomax factory on Frome’s Vallis Mills Trading Estate, and its build and potential was featured on BBC’s Points West news programme by reporter Cheryl Dennis and film cameraman Jeremy Wiles who spent the day on-site during construction.

The shelter is built from Protomax’s hard wearing, weather proof and flexible material which is produced from recycled plastic waste. The panels are more sustainable and are seen as a credible alternative to plywood, chipboard and MDF. And at end of life they are 100% recyclable.

Anthony, who lives in Tellisford near Bath said the shelters could be a semi-permanent follow-up to canvas or plastic tents which are needed within hours of any disaster.

He said the new Protomax shelter could be put up by a team of three or four men in about half a day and would be sturdy and robust, providing more warmth, space and comfort.

The shelters are adaptable and can be extended and windows can be cut into the end or sides wherever needed. Interior partitions could also be installed.

Nick and Anthony said they would like to see the Government and the Department for International Development, which leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty, working together to encourage aid agencies to use the shelter and help with funding.

Anthony said the shelters, which he estimated would be about £2,000, would last at least 30 years as the materials do not rot, rust or warp.

Nick commented, “The extra long-term advantage is that Protomax can supply machines to make the panels to wherever they are needed and this would provide local employment together with other economic benefits.

“And at the end of a shelter’s life it could be recycled and turned into other products. It would be an on-going process and there would certainly be no need for any landfill.

“It would be a win-win in the short-term and long-term.”

Above: The Five Man Team  who put the shelter up: l-r, Anthony Battersby, Nick Stillwell, factory operatives Ryan Welch and Jolyon de Fossard and Mark Lloyd, general manager.

Below Nick Stilwell on the roof of the Protomax home

 

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