Peter Snaith, partner and head of manufacturing at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, discusses the importance of Teesside to the North-East economy and how supporting local businesses to expand on a global stage can help the region to thrive.
I lead Womble Bond Dickinson’s manufacturing sector group from our North-East base, the largest of our 27 offices across the UK and US. I previously worked as an in-house lawyer with ICI and INEOS on Teesside.
Since returning to private practice, I have enjoyed building the multi-disciplinary team of lawyers we established to provide every aspect of legal and regulatory support businesses in the manufacturing sector need.
We opened our office in the Wilton Centre in December. It’s over 20 years since I first had a desk in the building with ICI’s Legal Services team. It is good to be back! Much has changed but much has also stayed the same.
The new office enables our specialist teams who support our clients in Teesside’s chemicals sector and other industries to be close at hand and provides access to the meeting rooms and event spaces in Wilton. Here we host our Industry Insight seminars and other workshops and round tables, to help promote the sharing of best practice across a range of topics we find ourselves regularly getting involved with that affect all businesses on Teesside.
We have been involved with many significant developments in the area’s infrastructure and economy over the past three decades. We have witnessed the fragmentation of industry and the virtual jigsaw created by the transfer of ownership of the various parcels of land – meaning our knowledge of the legal aspects of the industrial landscape is second to none.
The Tees Valley Combined Authority and the mayor have been pursuing an ambitious investment programme, including the South Tees Development Corporation’s plans to regenerate the steelworks.
Our development and regeneration experts acted for STDC on the site’s acquisition and we continue to provide legal support as plans move ahead at pace. With one of the UK’s biggest clean energy teams, combined with our oil and gas expertise, we are excited by the numerous investments planned for the site and across Teesside.
We have a unique offering for the chemicals and advanced manufacturing sector. But to assume chemicals and the former steelworks represent the be-all and end-all for Teesside would be to take a narrow view.
We support multinationals and SMEs alike across many sectors with the experience we have in complementary and often overlapping sectors in energy and renewables, technology, life sciences, retail and real estate.
We’ve acted for Teesside University and Middlesbrough College for many years, seeing both transformed to become the brilliant institutions they are today, providing a pool of talented, skilled labour available for hire on the doorstep. The region also has exciting plans for the development of its local transport infrastructure, which our specialist transport and logistics team with expertise in road, rail, port and airport infrastructure projects are proud to support.
Teesside is at the forefront of its own modern-day industrial revolution. We are extremely proud to have supported businesses here and from our network of offices, combined with our new Wilton Centre base, we are committed to helping businesses, inward investors and the region as a whole to achieve their full potential.
Womble Bond Dickinon’s dedicated national manufacturing sector team is one of the largest in the UK, with specialists with years of experience of supporting clients with regulatory challenges and handling investigations, inquests and prosecutions.