Lowestoft is on the up, says leading town businessman

Danny Steel is the new President of Lowestoft and Yarmouth Rugby Club.

Danny Steel is the new President of Lowestoft and Yarmouth Rugby Club. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The EDP and Lowestoft Journal have asked people from across the town what their hopes and aspirations are for 2016. Despite the closure of several high-profile businesses in Lowestoft in 2015, Lowestoft Vision chairman DANNY STEEL believes the town is now on the up.

Lowestoft company Polgain who is looking to expand into premises where AKD Engineering was based in

Lowestoft company Polgain who is looking to expand into premises where AKD Engineering was based in Lowestoft.Jonathan Patterson, Adrian Bond and Peter Colby.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

2015 is rapidly winding down so who were the business winners and losers this year?

Those of you who read my article in the Journal In Business supplement back in the warmer days of last summer will know I promised to report back on how some of the new businesses to open in Lowestoft are doing.

Well, generally it's good news. Wetherspoons continues to do well. Ashby's, after a slow start has a new manager and a new format which looks to be paying dividends. Mark G's have moved from the South Pier to the Tramways, in Pakefield, after Tesco pulled out of the fight to get planning for a Tesco Express.

A new Dunelm store opens in Lowestoft.

A new Dunelm store opens in Lowestoft. - Credit: Nick Butcher

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Dunelm is busy and the Beaches and Cream's owner is very pleased with the way his business is growing. These companies have so far made a go of trading in Lowestoft and I wish them good luck for the future.

In 2015 regrettably we lost Godfrey's, B&Q, Can-am travel agents and AKD Engineering. It is always sad when companies fold for whatever reason but it's doubly so when old long established names have to close. However already other companies are filling the voids the closures leave.

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So what of 2016? Are we going to see continued growth?

In November The Journal reported that Waveney MP Peter Aldous announced that the Galloper wind farm construction base will be in Lowestoft.

This is great news, not only for the companies directly involved but for the town generally. It will be a massive boost to our local economy, shops, restaurants, pubs, and many other businesses will have been cheering the news. Around 800 full time jobs and thousands of roles involved in the supply chain are predicted. I think many more jobs will follow in construction, engineering, maintenance and administration.

Already one of our major local employers, Sembmarine SLP, are involved in the offshore wind industry having been awarded the contract for the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm's substation platform, due for delivery next year.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference earlier this month saw 195 countries and 150 world leaders agreeing to limit the use of fossil fuels in the future, so renewables will be a massive growth industry. We are well set in Lowestoft to grow with the renewable Industry.

I think we should adopt the tag line 'Lowestoft's Future is Renewable'.

Will we see the go ahead announced for Sizwell C in 2016? I don't know but if we do what an additional economic boost that would be.

In other industries we have recently seen reported in The Journal that Kingsley Healthcare is moving to a soon to be refurbished Rishton House and East Coast Community Health Care is moving to a soon-to-be-refurbished Hamilton House.

Hoseasons is investing £250,000 in its Lowestoft headquarters and predicts it will be employing 270 staff by February 2016.

Employment minister Priti Patel, commenting on the latest employment figures, said there were more people in work in the East of England than ever before.

These are all good news stories for the Lowestoft economy and Lowestoft business and I may be an optimist, a glass half-full man, but even the most pessimistic must see that Lowestoft is on the way up.

I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2016.

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