Ex-SSI site will see ‘spades in the ground’ in 2018, says Tees mayor

Tees mayor Ben Houchen says building work on the former SSI site in Redcar will start in 2018, as part of his vision for the year ahead.

The Conservative mayor for Teesside says he will also launch a new £13m investment fund for start-ups as he outlined an ambitious shopping list of objectives for the next 12 months.

The government announced last autumn funding of £123m for remediation works on the South Tees Development Corporation site.

And Mr Houchen insists construction work will start in 2018.

He has also reiterated his election pledge to buy Durham Tees Valley Airport, while promising to finalise and submit a bid for a new Tees Crossing this year.

Mr Houchen, who was elected Tees mayor last May, said: “My confidence in the region is shared by our fantastic local businesses.

“I have one simple view: if we back the innovators, the job creators, the entrepreneurs and the risk takers – everyone benefits.

“Indeed, the whole mindset of my team is to ask how we can improve our local economy and create a perfect environment for the private sector to grow. Part of that is ensuring we do as much as we possibly can to support companies in our area.

“2018 will herald the launch of my new access to finance investment fund for start-ups to drive business growth and expansion. I want the Tees Valley to be the easiest place in the country to finance a growing business.

“As well as investing in business, it is vital we ensure new job opportunities are filled by local people and that home-grown companies also benefit.

“I will be launching a new careers advice service which will see an overhaul of careers education, with schools and colleges working with local business to become directly informed of jobs and opportunities in the area.

“The idea you can only get on in life by going to university is nonsense – it’s great to encourage young people to learn a trade.

“It is therefore important to me that we do as much as we can to encourage people here to take up opportunities to train and develop new skills.”

Meanwhile, Mr Houchen admitted his bid to take Durham Tees Valley Airport back into public ownership has “taken a while”.

The Tees mayor had claimed in November that he was due to meet with the airport’s owners “in a fortnight”, insisting everyone has a price, but it remains to be seen whether that meeting took place.

In his latest statement, Mr Houchen said: “This year I will be presenting a fully-costed and worked-up proposal to Peel Airports.

“This was a key election pledge of mine, and if our airport is ever to succeed it needs to be run for the people, by the people. I am confident we will see significant progress with this in the next 12 months.

“This is my record of action, and a promise of more. These pioneering plans for the year ahead will lay the groundwork for my plan to build a Tees Valley for everyone.”


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