Key plans submitted for former SSI site

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Ben Houchen has submitted a planning application to Redcar and Cleveland Council that will spearhead the redevelopment of a key piece of land at the former SSI steelworks site.

The plans will see a new roundabout and road access created for the Grangetown Prairie site – a 150-acre area that is one of the first sections of land to be developed.

The development of the new road will also include important improvements to the existing Eston Road.

Last month mayor Houchen announced that Hartlepool-based Seymour Civil Engineering had been appointed to start site clearance and preparation work at the Prairie site, as part of a multi-million contract, and the firm has also been contracted to carry out this latest work.

Awarding the contract to the 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 clearance work began less than a week after the successful outcome of the compulsory purchase inquiry into the former SSI steelworks.

The inquiry granted the South Tees Development Corporation powers to purchase the former SSI steelworks, along with a further 112 acres of land, following a three-year-battle.

Eston Road currently provides access into the South Tees Eco-Park and Freight Park from the A66 at Grangetown.

As part of the news plans to improve access to the Grangetown Prairie Eston Road will be widened. Works along the eastern side of Eston Road will create dedicated foot and cycleways, as well as a new four-arm roundabout at the bend in the road, with two new internal access roads into the Prairie site.

Mayor Houchen said: “When we won the Compulsory Purchase Order inquiry, I said we wouldn’t be wasting any time and I meant it. In less than a month we’ve appointed a fantastic company from Hartlepool to begin crucial preparation work at the Prairie site and we’ve now submitted a key planning application to unlock the site.

“This work will once again be carried out by a local business who employ 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 local businesses 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.

“I’ve always said this redevelopment will be about creating good quality, high skilled local jobs for local people. Having a fantastic local 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.

“I’m putting the building blocks in place to deliver a brighter future this site, a future that will see the creation of a world-class centre focused on the clean energy, offshore and innovation sectors.

“The rusting steel making infrastructure is not just a scar on the landscape, it is a reminder of the 3,000 jobs that were lost when SSI closed in 2015 – something that should never have happened. The redevelopment of the steelworks will create thousands of good quality, high skilled local jobs for local people, and the development of the Prairie site is a key first step in my plan in delivering these jobs.”

Councillor Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council and Tees Valley Combined Authority cabinet lead for inward investment, said: “It is a tribute to the hard work of a lot of people for a long time that significant progress is now being made to develop this internationally important industrial site which has the potential to provide thousands of high quality jobs for generations to come.

“The big news is the land is now in public control and now more development plans are being made which must, of course, be properly looked at and I am pleased that this application is being submitted to the council for consideration.

“We will continue to work with people, organisations and companies in the Tees Valley, the country and around the world to do what it takes to attract the investment this borough deserves.”