More than 250 business and political leaders have gathered for the launch of the draft masterplan for the South Tees Development Corporation (STDC) which is set to create 20,000 jobs.
The 25-year plan sets out the STDC’s regeneration goals for the area and will look to convert assets in the South Tees area into industrial opportunities for business investment.
It is thought that once the plan is in place it will see 20,000 jobs created and add an additional £1bn a year to the local economy.
As part of the new vision, a 4,500 acre site, which includes the former SSI steelworks, will be dedicated to industrial related employment, and will include a coastal community use zone to protect the area that bounds the site and the sea at Redcar.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is the single greatest development opportunity in the UK right now. The vision of the development corporation will see the area completely transformed into a hotbed of new industry with sustained economic growth and prosperity for the region.
“Covering more than 4,500 acres and home to the deepest port on the East coast, it has already attracted significant interest from investors across the globe. The opportunity alone stands to create 20,000 new jobs in skilled sectors with good salaries and is heavily focussed on the area’s key priorities in manufacturing and advanced technologies.
“The draft Master Plan isn’t a pie in the sky wish list; we’ve based it all on genuine investor interest.
“Whilst this is a 25-year vision, we are all working flat out with investors and I am confident we will be making some very significant announcements in the next year; it’s a very exciting time for our region.”
Sue Jeffrey, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and vice chair of the STDC, said: “The overnight closure of SSI in October 2015 was devastating for our local communities. We must now look forward and ensure the site is developed to its full potential so that well paid skilled jobs are available for local people. I urge residents and businesses to engage with the consultation exercise and let us know what you think to our plans. This is a huge opportunity for us all.”
Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry said: “This is a crucial step to stimulate economic growth and regeneration across the Tees Valley. The South Tees Development Corporation is a key part of our plans for the Northern Powerhouse, as we seek to attract investment into Teesside and create quality jobs for local people.
“I recently discussed plans to boost the local economy with business leaders in Teesside and the Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen. I look forward to working with Ben as we make the most of this opportunity to attract new businesses to the area.”