THE gaps between paving stones add up to a big gap in the market, and an Essex firm is now about to fill it. The Gapfast paving spacer, marketed by the newly-formed company Resigap, is set to occupy a hole previously monopolised by plywood offcuts or weeds. It is the first patented device of its kind dedicated to outdoor paving.

Designed in Basildon and manufactured in Southend, Gapfast’s 10mm spacers, bagged up in clusters of 50, could and should sell by the million. The idea for the product came from Craig Amor, a businessman with decades of experience in the construction industry particularly in paving.

His paving sealant company Resiblock has contributed to town squares and other sites across the world, including Disneyland Hong Kong and London’s O2 Arena.

“The spacer fills such an obvious need, yet amazingly, nothing like this has been available on the market until now,” says Craig.

He points out: “Every leaflet or online DIY guide telling you how to lay a patio will specify a need for spacers. But until now, you had to devise your own.”

A deceptively simple looking plastic cross, the spacer was only perfected after a long run of experimental prototypes.

Most plastic widgets are manufactured in the Far East, but the Gapfast spacer is being made by a Southend company, which also made the tools.

“I worked with Essex Injection in Southend to develop the product,” says Craig.

“They've done a magnificent job. It’s really gratifying that an Essex manufacturing company can rise to a challenge like this.”

Craig came up with the idea for a solid, purpose-built device to plug the gaps between paving slabs years ago, but didn’t have time to work on it properly.

“It’s only by divesting most of my day-to-day role in Resiblock that I’ve been able to concentrate on developing this new product.”