May 6, 2020 @ 12:37 by Richard Dawson
Following the successful outcome of the compulsory purchase inquiry into the purchase of land on the former SSI steelworks, a contractor has now been appointed to begin major redevelopment work on the site.
Hartlepool-based Seymour Civil Engineering has this week started site clearance and preparation work on land known as the Grangetown Prairie, as part of a multi-million pound contract with the South Tees Development Corporation (STDC).
The 124-acre site will be one of the first areas to be redeveloped as part of the STDC’s masterplan, which hopes to deliver 20,000 new jobs and more than £1 billion per year into the UK economy over the next 25 years.
The work has begun just days after the compulsory purchasing ruling, which granted the STDC powers to purchase the former Redcar steelworks, following a three-year legal battle.
The positive outcome means the 4500-acre site can be redeveloped and provide good-quality jobs to people in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.
Mayor Ben Houchen, who chairs the STDC, 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 to conclude 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.
“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.”
Councillor Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, added: “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.”