A SAWMILL based in Royal Wootton Bassett has taken the first steps towards fully reopening.

Vastern Timber's Wiltshire sawmills have begun working on orders for the first time since the lockdown came into effect.

New government guidelines issued earlier this month allowed the timber merchant to return some of its staff to the site.

Managing director Tom Barnes said: "We are very pleased to be back, although it’s not business as usual

“To keep everyone safe we are bringing back a limited team to service orders placed by phone or email only.

"We are unable to accept visitors, but we can arrange delivery or collection by appointment.

“Safety is our first priority, so please bear with us as we adapt to the guidelines on social distancing at work.”

The company employs 50 team members and operates a sawmill in Bassett as well as one in Studley, which is still closed.

Vastern Timber is a fourth-generation family firm which produces timber cladding, flooring, planks and beams from British-grown wood.

The merchant developed Brimstone timber cladding and decking, which is an award winning innovation made from thermally-modified, locally-grown timber.

Mr Barnes had big development plans for the future of one sawmill that had to be temporarily put on hold when Covid-19 hit the UK.

But now that his company is partly up and running again, he's looking forward to turning his idea into a reality.

He added: "We are currently planning to build a solar-powered production unit for Brimstone at the Royal Wootton Bassett site.

"Although these plans may be delayed by the coronavirus, I’m optimistic that in the near future these plans will progress.

“I want to say thank you to our team and our customers for their patience and support in these last few weeks.

“I look forward to welcoming customers back to our showroom as soon as possible.

"In the meantime, we’ll do our best to deliver in the current circumstances.”

The sawmill began resuming processing orders on Wednesday April 15.