‘Seize this golden opportunity’ - Council leader urges businesses to bid for contracts

Council and business leaders at the Get Ready for Growth conference in Newmarket Picture: WEST SUFFO

Council and business leaders at the Get Ready for Growth conference in Newmarket Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCILS - Credit: Archant

A council leader has urged businesses in west Suffolk to “seize a golden opportunity” to benefit from a major investment in RAF Lakenheath.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in the Lakenheath area as part of the United States Air Force (USAF) programme to base the F35 fighter and its supporting personnel in the UK.

The free ‘Get Ready for Growth’ conference held at Newmarket racecourse on Monday gave firms an insight into how they can bid for multi-million pound contracts to provide services.

James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, said the authority wants to make sure local companies can capitalise on the opportunities.

“We wanted to help local businesses seize this golden opportunity to benefit from this major investment in RAF Lakenheath and hear of other projects they could become involved in,” he said.

“We had a full house of companies attending the popular event, which is part of our council’s aim to support businesses, jobs and prosperity in the area while attracting investment.

“We know we have some of the best businesses in the country and this free event should help many go onto the next level. I would like to thank all those involved who made this possible.”

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West Suffolk Councils teamed up with West Suffolk College, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Job Centre Plus, Suffolk County Council and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority for the information event.

National and multinational companies Balfour Beatty, Galliford Try and Wates are three of the major firms that have been shortlisted to the preferred bidder stage for the RAF Lakenheath project.

All three spoke to businesses at the packed event about their vision for effective procurement in the area, and how businesses can become part of their supply chain.

Mr Waters added: “West Suffolk is host to several major construction projects being planned or delivered now, including the major build up work taking place at RAF Lakenheath to accommodate new F35s.

“Supporting local businesses and encouraging investment is at the heart of what our councils do.

“The USAF is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the base and we want to make sure that local firms are able to be in the best position to benefit from it and be part of this development.”