Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen has contracted a Hartlepool firm to begin major redevelopment work at the South Tees Development Corporation site less than a week on from the successful outcome of the compulsory purchase inquiry into the former SSI steelworks.
Hartlepool-based Seymour Civil Engineering has this week started site clearance and preparation work on land known locally as the Grangetown Prairie, as part of a multi-million contract.
The 124-acre site will be one of the first areas to be redeveloped as part of mayor Houchen and the development corporation’s masterplan, which will see the creation of 20,000 new jobs and more than £1 billion per annum pumped into the UK economy over the next 25 years.
The contract being awarded to a Hartlepool firm, which is providing jobs for local people, emphasises mayor Houchen’s commitment to give businesses in the Tees Valley the support they need during the coronavirus pandemic.
The work has begun just days after the compulsory purchase ruling, which granted the Development Corporation powers to purchase the former SSI steelworks, along with a further 112 acres of land, following a three-year-battle.
The outcome means the 4,500-acre site can be redeveloped and once again provide good quality, well-paid jobs for people in the Tees region.
Mayor Houchen said: “Last week’s ruling was a fantastic moment and put an end to long-running legal fights and disagreements, which I know everyone on Teesside was sick of and wanted concluding as quickly as possible.
“But it wasn’t the end of the work, it was just the beginning of our efforts to create a world-class centre focused on the clean energy, offshore and innovation sectors.
“I’ve always said this redevelopment will be about creating good quality, high skilled local jobs for local people. Having a fantastic Hartlepool business like Seymour shows it won’t just be the surrounding community that will benefit, it will be the whole of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.
“This work is being carried out by local businesses who are employing local people, which is more important than ever due to the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in because of the coronavirus.
“We need to do everything we can to support business in this area during this difficult time, and there’s no better way of doing that than giving them work on one of the biggest regeneration projects in Europe.
“We are not wasting any time. We are getting on with the work that I’ve promised to everyone across the region, and in particular the former steelworkers and their families.
“That’s why I am pleased that, less than a week on from the judgement, we are moving forward and getting spades in the ground.”
Cllr Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council, said: “Starting the redevelopment work of the former SSI site is a huge step forward and one which brings the prospect of high-quality jobs for many thousands of people across the region.
“The site has the potential to bring prosperity and a better quality of life for so many of our residents and seeing the development of large-scale, cutting-edge manufacturing on the site would be a fitting use for a borough which made the steel that built structures which transformed places around the world.
“We look forward to helping make that vision into a reality, which will be transformational for Redcar and Cleveland.”