Steel site deal edges closer

Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen believes the fate of the former Redcar steelworks land could be decided within days – with negotiations with SSI and Thai Banks at an “advanced stage”.

A compulsory purchase hearing is being held to determine whether leaders on Teesside can bring the land back into public hands.

South Tees Development Corporation (STDC) wants to control all of the former SSI site to unlock plans that could create 20,000 new jobs.

Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I have been working extremely hard over recent months to try and secure a deal with SSI and the Thai banks to bring the former Redcar steelworks site back under public ownership.

“Negotiations are now at an advanced stage, and we think there is a deal to be done, subject to the three Thai banks approving it.

“To allow this to happen, it will require seven days for the banks to go through the process needed to finalise the agreement.

“I am hopeful that after five years we will soon be in a position to start breathing new life into the ting the former Redcar steelworks site.

“But even if a deal isn’t agreed, court proceedings have started as we cannot allow any delay in getting back this site.”

Teesside leaders and representatives from three Thai banks which hold the land met for the first time in South Bank earlier this week.

The hearing, scheduled to last up to three weeks, is taking place at the South Tees Business Centre in the shadow of the steelworks’ now defunct coke ovens.

The banking trio have objected to the CPO (compulsory purchase order) arguing it is “fundamentally misconceived” and “significantly premature”.

Mayor Houchen has argued the banks have been taking Teesside “for a ride” over the past 12 months.

A planning inspector is hearing evidence from both sides to decide whether the land should be returned into public hands.

Other businesses with sites near the land have also objected, asking for reassurances that their interests will not be affected by the development plans.

STDC has already required more than 1,400 acres of land it wants to regenerate over the next 25 years.

 

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