Tees Valley Mayor | Published on: 13th August 2020
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (August 13) unveiled a £150million programme of demolition work across the Teesworks site – including the Redcar Blast Furnace and Coke Ovens – which could create up to 300 jobs.
The contracts for the five-year programme will see the demolition of some of the most iconic structures from the former steelworks which have formed part of the Redcar skyline for generations. Mayor Houchen is urging businesses in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to apply to be included on a list of providers for contract opportunities over the project’s lifetime.
Local businesses can apply to be on the providers’ list now by visiting the newly-launched Teesworks website, teesworks.co.uk. The contracts are due to be awarded in December, with work beginning as early as March next year. Up to 300 jobs could be created throughout the demolition programme.
The nine structures that will be demolished as part of the programme are:
Mayor Houchen can also announce today he is putting on tours of the site to give local people a final chance to explore the historic site before this demolition work begins.
The guided bus tours will allow people to see the iconic structures such as the Blast Furnace and Coke Ovens, which have been part of the Redcar landscape for generations, up close safely and in line with current social distancing regulations.
The tours, which will involve former steelworkers and explain the future vision for the site, will take place throughout October and those interested can book now by visiting www.teesworks.co.uk/tours.
Mayor Houchen also wants to hear ideas from former steelworkers and people living in Redcar and across the Tees Valley about how they want to celebrate and recognise the history and heritage of the steelworks following the demolition work.
Mayor Houchen said: “Teesworks is a huge part of my plan for jobs to create good quality local jobs for local people, and this is another opportunity for local businesses to get involved in the work and the jobs we are creating, which is even more important as we bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.
“More than 200 local jobs have already been created on the site, but as I said last month when we launched Teesworks, over the next year, we will go on to create hundreds more and this is not only the next stage of that plan, but the most significant so far, so it is a fantastic opportunity for businesses in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.
“I recognise the demolition of these historic structures will be a bittersweet moment for many people in Redcar, especially to those former steelworkers and their families. That is why I am offering local people the chance to safely explore the site one last time before the demolition work begins.
“I have been inundated with people interested in taking a tour around the site, so I am delighted to be able to make this happen and give people a chance to learn more about the history of the site and make some final memories to treasure long after the buildings have gone.
“The Redcar steelworks is such a huge part of our history and even after it is gone, it is something we should be telling our children and grandchildren about. That is why I want to hear from people in Redcar on how we should keep the memories of it alive. It was their steelworks so they should have a say on how we remember it.”
Councillor Mary Lanigan, Leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “We are all excited about the potential of this world class site and the huge opportunities we have to attract investment from around the world to Teesworks.
“But, of course, there is a real pang in the heart at the thought of such an iconic part of our skyline and steel-making heritage vanishing. Making iron and steel has been fundamental to our identity for generations – it’s in our blood.
“Nearly everyone from this area has a family history involving steel-making and is fiercely proud of it. I am certainly no different and we are all proud that steel-making does remain here in the borough.
“However, we must concentrate on building a prosperous future and preparing this massive industrial site for a range of new, cutting edge industries is a crucial part of that challenge. Making iron and steel was a new industry once and we became world-beaters. We can do that again with the industries of the future.”
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