Nearly 300 businesses took full advantage of a webinar last week (3 March) to better understand the local commercial opportunities on offer from Suffolk County Council’s £126m Gull Wing project in Lowestoft.
Organised by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the council and Farrans Construction, the virtual event resulted in a strong turnout from both local and regional firms interested in finding out more about the bridge, which is due to open in 2023.
Farrans has committed to, wherever possible, using firms with the necessary expertise within a 70-mile radius of the site. Attendees heard from Farrans staff about the timescales for the Gull Wing, how the project will be managed and how they can be best prepared to bid for the resulting contracts. This was followed by a detailed question and answer session.
Peter Aldous MP for Waveney, Councillor Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, Simon Bretherton, the Gull Wing’s project director and Neil Rogers, Farrans’ project director all presented at the event.
John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said:
“To have so many participants involved in this initial webinar shows just how exciting and important this project is both in itself and in terms of the local economic uplift arising from the construction of the bridge.
“Farrans’ keenness to work with Suffolk Chamber and local and regional businesses is exemplary. Thank you to them for their commitment to do the best for the local economy.”
Neil Rogers, Project Director at Farrans, said:
“I was really encouraged by the large number and variety of local businesses who attended, we’re looking forward to working with as many as we can throughout the Gull Wing project.
“Our aim was to meet local businesses from Lowestoft and the local area to help Farrans establish long-term supply chain business relationships – something which is inherent to the core values of our business. Large construction projects like the Gull Wing give fantastic opportunities for local firms to showcase their specialist trades.”
Councillor Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said:
“This was such a positive start to the Gull Wing’s story, with so many local businesses interested in playing their part in its success. The bridge itself will of course bring practical benefits, such as improved traffic flow around the town, but these events are just as important for me.
“They are evidence of all the additional benefits that the Gull Wing will bring to the local area, particularly as we look to begin the recovery out of COVID-19 and creating business opportunities to support our local economy. These businesses will be a crucial part of the successful delivery of this nationally significant infrastructure project.”
Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, said:
“I was delighted to see so many recognisable, local names and businesses show an interest to help deliver the Gull Wing. With this project, alongside the Government’s commitment to levelling up across the country, it really feels like a positive time for our local economy. Events like these also demonstrate the wide range of benefits that the Gull Wing will bring to the area and local people, beyond just the physical bridge itself.”
Suffolk Chamber is working with Suffolk County Council and Farrans to host a follow up event in the spring, which will focus on the specific packages of works available through the project.
Local companies can still express their interest in becoming a supplier and bid to be part of the project supply chain. If you are a small or medium sized enterprise, a local subcontractor or specialist supplier and are interested in working on the project, visit the Farrans website www.farrans.com/suppliers
For more information you can also visit the project website www.gullwingbridge.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Farrans on 01502 512779.