Lincolnshire agricultural handling equipment manufacturer Tong Engineering has started building a new factory in Spilsby thanks in part to a £500,000 grant from the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
The new factory is being built as a two-phase project on a seven-acre near the Vale Road Industrial Estate in Spilsby, with the £3.6 million first phase building expected for completion by spring 2020.
The fourth-generation family business currently operates across two sites in Spilsby and Wainfleet in Lincolnshire. On completion of the phase one build, all production will take place in Spilsby, enabling Tong Engineering to progress with its ambitious growth targets whilst creating 26 new jobs.
The grant has been awarded by the LEP from its Greater Lincolnshire Growth Fund which offers match-funded grants of £150,000 to £500,000 to help Greater Lincolnshire SMEs to increase productivity and create new jobs.
Edward Tong, Managing Director at Tong Engineering, said the new investment is great news for the company’s valued workforce, as well as for Tong customers.
“We have broken ground on the site of the new factory and we’re all absolutely delighted that this investment is going ahead,” he said.
“Having developed our current site in Spilsby from its early beginnings in the 1930s, we have had to be very resourceful in how we utilise and maximise our manufacturing space. Our new purpose-built manufacturing facility will provide over 20% more capacity, ensuring we can better meet demand for our equipment in the UK and worldwide.
Chairman Charles Tong confirmed that the overriding consideration has always been to remain in, or close to the town of Spilsby, supporting the local community and businesses, and ensuring a smooth transition to the new site for all employees.
“Spilsby has been our home for almost a century, but as the business has expanded, we have increasingly outgrown our current premises. Unable to physically expand our site in Spilsby any further, we had no option but to open a second factory almost 10 years ago in Wainfleet. Operating at two sites, 10 miles apart, does bring many logistical challenges, and we have been researching the viability of one new purpose-built factory for many years.
“As a business we are extremely busy – our UK customers are continuing to invest in advanced equipment and our exports have grown by 40% over the last five years. As we continue to grow, we need bigger, more modern premises to increase our production capacity.
“With the support of the Greater Lincolnshire Growth Fund and East Lindsey District Council we are very pleased that we can finally break ground on a new factory. The project will help us to maintain the most advanced engineering practices, and at the same time we’re creating jobs, boosting economic growth in Lincolnshire and working with local building contractors and services throughout the project.”
Ursula Lidbetter OBE, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, commented: “Tong Engineering is a successful and well-established Lincolnshire business and we are pleased to be able to support their growth ambitions with this grant.
“As an agricultural business Tong operates in one of the key sectors which we aim to support through the Greater Lincolnshire Growth Fund.
“We look forward to the completion of the company’s new factory, which we hope will create new jobs in East Lindsey and help Tong Engineering to grow.”
Councillor Adam Grist, Portfolio Holder for Market Towns and Rural Economy at East Lindsey District Council, said: “Tong Engineering is one of East Lindsey’s biggest companies and we’re pleased to have worked with them over the past year or so to help them develop their plans.
“It’s fantastic to see the company awarded money from the LEP’s Greater Lincolnshire Growth Fund and it’s recognition of the hard work they’ve put in to achieving their growth aspirations. I wish the company every success and look forward to continuing to work with them on any future expansion plans.”