THE Southampton-based manufacturer of the Great British Bake-Off tent, has expanded its production facility to include a new factory.

Custom Covers has acquired a 15,000 square foot industrial unit, formally The Pipe Centre, just across the road from its existing base of operations on Quayside Road in Bitterne Manor, which has since undergone extensive refurbishment.

The new premises, which opened last week, features a 40m long PVC welding bed, the largest of its kind in the UK, and allows Custom Covers to manufacture covers for colossal festival stages and giant scaffolding.

The new unit also houses a dedicated marquee frame warehouse, allowing the firm to store more frames so it can more easily keep up with the customer demands of the event industry.

Custom Covers deals exclusively with trade customers and these have included dance music festival Creamfields, for which it manufactured a huge awning for the Steel Yard stage, and VIP tents for Southampton’s Let’s Rock festival.

As well as the Bake Off tent, probably the most famous marquee on TV, Custom’s other small screen star is the Grand Tour tent – which provides a cover for Amazon Prime petrolheads and former Top Gear trio, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

Custom Covers said recent years had see a boom in outside events ranging from weddings and pub beer tents through to huge festivals.

Managing director Robert Sanders said: “Investing in Southampton during these uncertain times might seem counterintuitive but we are investing for the future.

“This new factory means we have now doubled our footprint in Hampshire in the last two years which has given us much needed extra capacity. We look forward with optimism”.

The firm was founded in 1984 and began making covers for the marine trade.

It now employs more than 75 staff, split between its Southampton factories and its hire depot in Winchester, which opened in 2017.

The Winchester site also carried out repairs and has a massive PVC washing machine for cleaning marquees.