Lord Michael Heseltine will push the button on the final explosive demolition to take place at the Teesworks site on Thursday (29 June).
Crews will bring down four former Redcar Power Station structures in a matter of seconds on Thursday afternoon to mark the final facility to come down at the former steelworks.
It closes a chapter at the Teesworks site with one the largest demolition programmes the UK has ever seen set to be completed in just two years.
Lord Heseltine and Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen recently shared a stage seven years on from the landmark Tees Valley: Opportunity Unlimited report which kick-started the region’s devolution deal in 2016.
Authored by Lord Heseltine, the report set out opportunities to unlock, promote and support economic growth in the region and was central to establishing the office of the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority.
Lord Heseltine played an important role in the development of Urban Development Corporations which helped regenerate London Docklands and parts of Liverpool in the 1980s.
“Devolution is fundamental,” he said.
“My view of devolution is the Mayoral Authority should be producing a strategy for the Tees Valley which should embrace all the strengths and opportunities, and tackle the weaknesses.
“All these things have to be part of the Mayoral strategy – that should be discussed with government and once agreed, backed.”
Martin Corney, Teesworks CEO, said: “I’m very pleased with the progress of the demolition programme. We’re creating and keeping jobs in the region, and it has paved the way for an exciting future with important new investments across the site.”
A longstanding advocate of devolution, Lord Heseltine wanted to see it move faster and backed a wider Mayoral model.
“It’s moving at a snail’s pace,” he added.
“We need 60 local authorities, get rid of all the districts and have Mayoral Unitaries. It’s all in the Redcliffe-Maud Report from 1968.”
The Tees Valley: Opportunity Unlimited report made a raft of recommendations including the rapid establishment of the South Tees Development Corporation, a business support team, deeper exploration of Carbon Capture and Storage, and recognising the importance of Darlington Station.
Mayor Houchen added: “It’s a real honour Lord Heseltine has agreed to push the button on our final Teesworks demolition.
“He is a titan of 20th Century UK politics, and his report was a true catalyst in getting us to where we are today.
“Without our Joint Venture Partners, and their expertise, the demolition programme would be nowhere near as advanced as it is today – so huge credit should rest on their shoulders.
“Our Joint Venture Partners, investors and contractors are cracking on at Teesworks and our progress on the recommendations in the initial report shows how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go in bringing prosperity and good, well-paid jobs to people in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.”
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