Businesses sign up to play a part in Highways England’s A303 upgrade
Highways England’s call for smaller, local companies to play a part in the A303 Stonehenge upgrade has received an encouraging response from businesses.
According to an independent economic assessment commissioned by local authorities and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, and validated by the Department for Transport, improving the A303 corridor will help to create 21,000 jobs and deliver a £39 billion boost in the long term.
And since extending an invite last month for small and medium-sized businesses to get involved in the transformational A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down scheme past Stonehenge, a total of 65 companies have already registered their interest, with 25% of those from the Wiltshire locality.
Of the companies registered so far, a large percentage are involved in civil engineering, building and civil works, security, facilities management and landscaping, together with other professional services such as business supply, catering, cleaning, environmental and waste management.
Ahead of a virtual Meet the Buyer event for all interested companies, David Bullock, Highways England Project Manager for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, is today (12 January) delivering a presentation to the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce and Salisbury Business Improvement District, and is encouraging even more businesses to get involved.
He said: “The scheme has numerous benefits, not only in improving journey reliability and enhancing the World Heritage Site landscape, but also in unlocking economic growth in the South West.
“The scheme is not just limited to larger, national and international companies, we’re encouraged by the response so far, and we’re keen for more local and regional businesses to get the chance to work with the project.
“With our archaeology specialists and preliminary works contractors expected to start on site later this year, there’s going to be some opportunities with those companies within the next six months or so. There will be greater potential when our main contractor is appointed later this year, or early 2022, and we’d urge businesses to get in touch now, so we can start to help them prepare.”
Through its procurement process, the company, responsible for England’s major A roads and motorways, appoints main contractors who in turn require their own supply chain, which provides opportunities for sub-contractors and sub-consultants to bid for work and become part of the extended supply chain.
Highways England is already working closely with the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Business West and the Federation of Small Businesses, and has also partnered nationally with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to provide free online training.
This helps smaller companies to upskill and places them in a better position to tender for work on larger infrastructure projects, such as the A303 Stonehenge upgrade.
The virtual Meet the Buyer event will be held on Thursday, 21 January, where Highways England’s project team and contractors Wessex Archaeology and Osborne Ltd will outline potential business opportunities and field submitted questions.
Companies wishing to attend the online event can log on here, and businesses interested in being a part of the A303 Stonehenge project are urged to register their details here. Information will then be passed to the relevant contractors.