MORE than 250 businesses are meeting prospective contractors to build Wrexham’s new prison.
Representatives from the four firms bidding to win the contract to build a prison were on hand to hear pitches from smaller companies hoping to be involved with the construction of the jail on Wrexham Industrial Estate.
The prison, which will be Britain’s biggest and house 2,100 inmates, received outline planning application from Wrexham Council last week.
Yesterday in a ‘speed networking’ event at Redwither Tower on the industrial estate, businesses had an eight-minute slot to try to win over the representatives from prison contract bidders Kier, Carillio, Lend Lease and Interserve.
The event will continue today, when more suppliers will be able to present products and services.
Duncan Bullimore, of Hays Specialist Recruitment, which has an office on Chester Street, Wrexham, said the chance to meet with the contractors was “encouraging”.
He said: “The level of engagement the contractors are having in advance of a big project like this is really encouraging, and their particular interest in local labour and staff is absolutely right and appropriate.”
Mr Bullimore described the prison as a “positive” for the area.
He added: “It will bring a lot of employment and supply chain opportunities to the area.
“It will be vital to our local branch network.”
A report to Wrexham Council’s planning committee said the prison would create 764 jobs, as opponents question the number of local people who will be employed.
But at yesterday’s networking event, Ged Hall, of Overwrought Engineering, based on Deeside, was enthusiastic about the chance to meet contractors face to face.
He said: “The estate over the years has had less and less tenants. It has been dwindling. This [the prison] turning up on the estate will bring a great influx, obviously there will be jobs even after it is finished.”
Full planning permission is still to be granted on the £250 million jail.
Tomorrow Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright MP and Secretary of State for Wales David Jones will visit the proposed location of the prison on the site of the former Firestone factory on Bridge Road before meeting with companies and the potential contractors.