Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry MP will today join Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen to announce that a major deal has been reached to secure over half of all developable land on the South Tees Development Corporation site.
The land deal, which has already been approved by Tata Steel Europe’s board, will see over 1,420 acres of land transferred to South Tees Development Corporation – including almost 2km of prime river frontage to accommodate even more investors.
Since it was launched by the Prime Minister in August 2017, the Development Corporation has already seen more than 100 enquiries from around the world, with a potential first-phase investment pipeline of £10billion.
The most advanced projects looking to base themselves on the site are expected be on Tata land – the most immediately developable section of the South Tees Development Corporation site.
Mayor Houchen has called an emergency meeting of the South Tees Development Corporation to approve the deal on Tuesday January 15.
The deal will also require ratification from the Cabinet of the Tees Valley Combined Authority on Thursday January 24.
The Northern Powerhouse Minister will also confirm that the Development Corporation’s bid for £14m to unlock two major metalworks projects on Tata land, announced at last year’s Autumn Budget, has been successful.
Work on the newly-acquired land will start this year, with the projects expected to bring hundreds of millions of pounds and at least 1,500 jobs for local workers.
For one of those projects, the average salary could be as much as £65,000.
This latest financial commitment would take Government’s total commitment on the site in the past year to £137m.
Once the specific site is cleaned up – thanks to Special Economic Area status – the mayor has pledged that all rent and business rates from the two potential investors will be used to clean up even more land for development, minimising future asks on the taxpayer.
Commenting on the historic land agreement, Houchen, who is also chairman of the South Tees Development Corporation said: “It has taken 18 months of blood, sweat and tears, but I’m pleased to say we have reached a historic deal to secure half of all developable land at the South Tees Development Corporation site.
“While the naysayers and usual suspects decried that we couldn’t do it, Teesside has today taken a giant leap forward.
“Today is a day that will be remembered as the dawn of a new economic era for our area. We have the investors, we have the money to clean up the site, and now we have the land – there’s nothing stopping us now.
“I couldn’t have done this without the support and help of every member of the South Tees Development corporation board. A group of men and women who have worked tirelessly to agree this acquisition.
“Now we have secured a deal to acquire 1,420 acres of land, it is more important than ever we take back control of our airport to secure its long-term future.
“If we are to succeed in our plans to bring the whole site back to life, to attract more investment to the area, and to deliver jobs for local workers, acquiring the airport makes even more sense.
“This is just the start. 2019 is Teesside’s year and we’ve started it with a bang!”
Negotiations to secure the remaining 870 acres of land owned by SSI in receivership are ongoing. Development Corporation board members are meeting representatives from the Thai banks today (January 7) in London in a “last ditch” attempt to agree a deal to secure SSI’s 870 acres on site.
If an agreement is not reached with the Thai banks by February 2019, the mayor has promised to instigate compulsory purchase proceedings to take back control of SSI’s land.
The South Tees Development Corporation is the first Mayoral Development Corporation outside of London, with a plan in place to create 20,000 jobs and drive an additional £1billion per year into the local economy over the next 25 years.
November saw the announcement of a “project of national significance” – a multi-billion pound Clean Gas energy project. It will be the world’s first gas-powered energy plant to deploy full-chain Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) at scale, meaning CO2 from the plant will be captured and then stored via pipelines under the North Sea.
The CCUS technology, once fully developed, could also attract more companies to the region that are seeking ways to utilise CO2 commercially – such as converting the waste gas into more useful chemicals that can be used in the supply chain. This could unlock additional investment that create thousands of jobs, while reducing the area’s carbon footprint even further.