A 25-year vision to create thousands of jobs and transform a 4,500-acre site which includes the former SSI steelworks site has been launched by Theresa May this week.
During her visit on Wednesday, the Prime Minister officially launched the South Tees Development Corporation (STDC), which has been working on plans to redevelop a 4,500-acre stretch of land on the south bank of the River Tees.
As the first Mayoral Development Corporation outside of London, the STDC will become a flagbearer for major business growth across the region and will work with industry to take advantage of opportunities in the area – part of which was formerly the SSI steelworks.
Mrs May said: “I want every part of the UK to reach its full potential and the regeneration of South Tees is a crucial step to stimulate economic growth across Tees Valley.
“The South Tees Development Corporation – the first of its kind outside of London – is a prime example of how placing power in the hands of local communities can drive growth.
“To deliver a strong, outward-looking Northern Powerhouse, part of an Industrial Strategy that works to improve productivity, we have to see all corners of the North reach their full economic potential.
“This long-term plan being led by Mayor Ben Houchen will bring great new opportunities for South Tees, helping to create the conditions where successful businesses can emerge and grow, and in turn provide high-quality jobs for local people.”
In the coming weeks the corporation will publish its draft plans, outlining that it will work with investors and cutting-edge industry from across the region to transform South Tees and the wider area.
Teesport is the largest exporting port in England and is also the deepest on the east coast of the UK. Placed in the heart of Tees Valley’s industrial zone, the area already enjoys unique exporting potential and the STDC plan will seek to further spur these opportunities.
Chaired by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, the project is a key part of the Tees Valley’s Devolution Deal.
Through the deal, powers have been handed from Whitehall to local leaders and coupled with hundreds of millions of pounds of government investment into the Tees Valley Combined Authority over 30 years, these plans can help bring about a lasting economic boost to the area.
On top of this, the government is providing Tees Valley with Local Growth Deal funding of £126m up to 2021.
Shortly after taking office, the Mayor used his powers to create the corporation, and today the members of the STDC board will also be announced.
He has appointed board members from a variety of backgrounds, who will bring their experiences of industry and knowledge of the area to boost commercial interest in the site.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is an historic moment for the Tees Valley – nowhere else outside of London has a Mayoral Development Corporation. It is a sign of the government’s commitment to our region and I am delighted the Prime Minister will see first-hand the opportunity we have to turn this local site into a national asset.
“I urge companies that are looking to invest in the UK to come up to Redcar and see for themselves the fantastic infrastructure, good transport connections and local highly-skilled workforce within its catchment area.
“As we negotiate our exit from the EU, our plans offer an exciting opportunity for Teesside to access new international markets, bringing inward investment into the area.
“This has the potential to create more than 20,000 high quality jobs for local people over the lifetime of the project.
“British Steel has already made a commitment to the site and the world’s largest dedicated biomass energy plant, MGT Teesside, is being constructed. These projects, and many more in our inward investment pipeline, demonstrate the level of our ambition for the area and are tangible evidence of the economic benefits that devolution is already bringing to Tees Valley.”
A full masterplan detailing the corporation’s aims will be launched in the autumn. A formal consultation will be published at the same time, giving communities and businesses in the area a chance to put forward their views on the project.
The STDC’s plans are a prime example of the government’s ongoing Northern Powerhouse drive to strengthen trade and investment, support innovation and growth in Northern hubs, improve transport links, and boost skills and education.
Northern infrastructure is a huge priority for the government and we are delivering real change through record investment.
Transport for the North has been given £60m to develop plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail to better link the great cities of the North and they are due to submit their proposals later this year.
By 2020 the government will have invested £1 billion to upgrade one of the largest rail networks in the country through the Great North Rail Project.
The Northern and TransPennine Express franchises are providing new trains, including more than 500 new carriages, room for 40,000 extra passengers and more than 2,000 extra services a week, including new fast services right across the region.
And on roads funding, there has been £128m to widen sections of the A19 to relieve congestion and promote growth in the Tees Valley, as well as £380m to upgrade the A1 and improve links between London and Newcastle.