Hundreds of businesses in the Tees Valley are set to benefit from a major regeneration plan in the region which is expected to create thousands of jobs and boost industrial growth.
Prime Minister Theresa May will officially launch the South Tees Development Corporation (STDC), which has been working on plans to redevelop a 4,500-acre stretch of land on the south bank of the River Tees.
As the first Mayoral Development Corporation outside of London, the STDC will become a flagbearer for business growth across the Tees Valley, and will work with industry to take advantage of opportunities in the area - part of which was formerly the SSI steelworks.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I want every part of the UK to reach its full potential and the regeneration of South Tees is a crucial step to stimulate economic growth across Tees Valley.
“The South Tees Development Corporation – the first of its kind outside of London – is a prime example of how placing power in the hands of local communities can drive growth.
“To deliver a strong, outward-looking Northern Powerhouse, part of an Industrial Strategy that works to improve productivity, we have to see all corners of the North reach their full economic potential.
“This long-term plan being led by Mayor Ben Houchen will bring great new opportunities for South Tees, helping to create the conditions where successful businesses can emerge and grow, and in turn provide high-quality jobs for local people.”
The corporation will publish its draft plans in the coming weeks, outlining that it will work with investors and industry to transform South Tees and the wider area.
Teesport is the largest exporting port in England and is also the deepest on the east coast of the UK. The STDC plan will seek to use these unique exporting opportunities.
Chaired by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, the project is a key part of the Tees Valley’s Devolution Deal.
Through the deal, powers have been handed from Whitehall to local leaders and coupled with hundreds of millions of pounds of government investment into the Tees Valley Combined Authority over 30 years. The government is also providing Tees Valley with Local Growth Deal funding of £126m up to 2021.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is an historic moment for the Tees Valley - nowhere else outside of London has a Mayoral Development Corporation. It is a sign of the government’s commitment to our region and I am delighted the Prime Minister will see first-hand the opportunity we have to turn this local site into a national asset.
“I urge companies that are looking to invest in the UK to come up to Redcar and see for themselves the fantastic infrastructure, good transport connections and local highly-skilled workforce within its catchment area.
“As we negotiate our exit from the EU, our plans offer an exciting opportunity for Teesside to access new international markets, bringing inward investment into the area. This has the potential to create more than 20,000 high quality jobs for local people over the lifetime of the project.
“British Steel has already made a commitment to the site and the world’s largest dedicated biomass energy plant, MGT Teesside, is being constructed. These projects, and many more in our inward investment pipeline, demonstrate the level of our ambition for the area and are tangible evidence of the economic benefits that devolution is already bringing to Tees Valley.”
A full masterplan detailing the corporation’s aims will be launched and a formal consultation will be published later this year, giving communities and businesses in the area a chance to put forward their views on the project.