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MDC Consultations

The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority are working alongside Hartlepool and Middlesbrough Councils to establish Mayoral Development Corporations (MDCs) in their town centres.

These MDCs will provide an opportunity to accelerate regeneration, influence government policy and leverage private investment to deliver a step change in the local economy, creating jobs and driving the local economy. They will transform our town centres and complement existing activity taking place, including that activity led by the Councils, to make them an even better place to live and do business.

The public consultations on these MDCs have now closed. We would like to thank everyone who responded to this.

At this stage, the consultation was limited to the rationale, boundary and mechanisms – the “how” – of creating such an area. Work is now taking place on the individual masterplans for the sites. This will include setting out the wider substantive details – the “what” – of the area, including its vision and values, key opportunities and redevelopment proposals.

As the process to set up the Mayoral Development Corporation moves forward, we will continue to engage with stakeholders to develop and refine the masterplan.

Mayoral Development Consultation was open between 23rd June 2022 and 4th August 2022, this has now closed.

Hartlepool 

A summary report on the outcome of the consultation can be found here and a copy of the letter here.

Boundaries

Amendments were made to the red line boundary following public consultation, with the inclusion of:

A copy of the revised maps can be found here.

Middlesbrough 

A summary report on the outcome of the consultation can be found here and a copy of the letter here.

Boundaries

Amendments were made to the red line boundary following public consultation, with the inclusion of:

A copy of the revised MDC map can be found here.

 

Consultation response

A summary of the Tees Valley Mayor’s response to detailed comments, and a statement of reasons for non-acceptance of comments are provided below:

Area Specific

Middlesbrough

Proposals were received to extend the boundary to include the wards of Gresham; Newport; and Thirteen Housing’s Community Focus Zone.

These proposals were not accepted. The boundaries reflect the geography that can most meaningfully be transformed over the short to medium term. The Mayoral Development Corporation will focus on transformative regeneration of the town centre, with an emphasis on mixed use of physical infrastructure and public realm. This will increase job creation and GVA – enhancing the town centre offer and experience.

A comment was raised on consultation of Students at Teesside University

The initial public consultation into establishing the Mayoral Development Corporations were open to the general public. We will continue to work with interested parties as we further develop the masterplans for the sites. This includes students at Teesside University.

Hartlepool

Proposals were made on extending the boundary to cover the University Hospital of Hartlepool, Headland and other sites.

These proposals were not accepted. The boundaries reflect the geography that can most meaningfully be transformed over the short to medium term. The Mayoral Development Corporation will focus on transformative regeneration of the town centre, with an emphasis on mixed use of physical infrastructure and public realm. This will increase job creation and GVA – enhancing the town centre offer and experience.

It was requested that, for the Hartlepool Mayoral Development Corporation, one-third of all board members would be directly elected.

The Board of Mayoral Development Corporation will be Chaired by the elected Mayor of the Tees Valley and the legislation sets out that it is a power of the Mayor to propose the board composition. It is expected that the respective Leader or Mayor of the Local Authority will be appointed as a member of the respective Boards.

Comments were received on a proposed break clause for the MDC

There is considered to be no benefit of having a dissolution date for the MDC, as it could undermine the confidence of the private sector to invest over the long term. The MDC will be held to account through the MDC governance model. Looking at previous development corporation sunset clauses in recent history, it is believed that such a clause could lead to substandard, rushed and less than optimal decisions being made to meet an arbitrary deadline.

Concern was raised that Hartlepool Football Club would be impacted by these plans.

The MDC has no intention of negatively impacting upon Hartlepool Football Club. The Mayoral Development Corporations are aimed at economic regeneration of our town centres.

An area within the Hartlepool MDC boundary was identified as having areas of pyramidal orchids which are protected.

Powers that can be granted to an MDC do not extend to overriding the environmental protections that are in place.

General

Questions were raised over how the MDC would impact funding and investment for those sites not within the boundaries

One of the aims of the Mayoral Development Corporations is to stimulate economic growth including leveraging further private sector investment into the towns. While there has been a £10million investment to kick-start both MDCs, the Combined Authority’s Ten-Year Investment Plan outlines investment across the length and breadth of the Tees Valley, and these investments will not be impacted by MDCs.

Comments were raised on the implications this plan has on local councils’ current powers and their potential erosion or curtailing, including on planning powers and asset transfer.

The Mayoral Development Corporation board will work alongside the local councils as it exercises its powers, with the regeneration of the town centres its top priority. There will be full consultation with local councils in the affected areas regarding any impacts on the Council’s financial position as a result of asset transfer and use of powers. The formal consultation by the Secretary of State as part of the process to establish the MDC will also address the issue of asset transfer.

Planning powers will be impacted by the Government’s recent announcements to create Investment Zones. Further details are awaited from Government as to what this means in practice.

Comments were raised on how transparency and accountability would be assured and the potential for corruption.

The Tees Valley Combined Authority is a public body and its Assurance Framework sets out its roles and responsibilities, including the key processes for ensuring accountability including public engagement, probity, transparency, legal compliance and value for money. This can be found here. Constitutions will be adopted for the MDCs which will set out open and transparent procedures for decision-making

Any allegations of corruption should be made to Cleveland Police.

Comments were raised on the MDCs being a “power and land grab” and “Just another layer of local government with the taxpayers footing the bill whilst publicly owned assets are given away at cut price to private owners”

The Mayoral Development Corporations will fully align with and add value to the work of existing local government structures, notably the councils and Combined Authority.  The MDCs will be overseen by Boards, led by the democratically accountable Mayor, and made up of local leaders from the public and private sectors. The Combined Authority’s Assurance Framework will ensure accountability, efficiency, and transparency of decision making. There is no intention to sell public assets to private companies.

Concerns were raised over the “acquisition of land by compulsory purchase and overriding third party rights to its land”. What appeal process will be in place?

Individuals can appeal to challenge the outcome of a compulsory purchase order in court proceedings in the High Court.

A comment was received stating the plans should go to a public vote

Under the Tees Valley’s devolution deal with the Government, the Tees Valley Mayor has powers to designate areas as Mayoral Development Corporations and bring them to the Secretary of State for approval. In May 2021, residents of the Tees Valley re-elected Ben Houchen as Mayor with 72.8% of the vote.

One comment stated: “It’s the beginning of a Charter City. The beginning of us being sold out to big corporations. Working standards will fall, our laws and taxes will be made by the big corporations. Our stands of living will fall as a result. Charter Cities are not the answer.”

Mayoral Development Corporations do not hold the same powers as Charter Cities. The MDCs can be granted powers over infrastructure, regeneration, land acquisition, planning, discretionary rates relief and financial assistance. These will be used to allow the MDCs to achieve its objectives of town centre transformation and economic regeneration. Businesses will not have the power to make laws or decisions that affect the running of MDCs. The MDCs will be overseen by locally-led Boards with democratic accountability.

A comment was raised stating’ cutting red tape’ always meant lower safety standards.”

Powers that can be granted to an MDC do not extend to reducing safety regulations below their statutory minimum in such areas.

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