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The Tees Valley Mayor has written to the Chairman of Homes England (previously the Homes and Communities Agency) calling on him to rethink plans for housing development that could threaten hundreds of jobs.

Ben Houchen has asked Sir Edward Lister to withdraw plans for a residential development at Oakesway Industrial Estate in Hartlepool over fears it could lead to the closure of TMD Friction UK’s facility.

Brake pad manufacturer TMD Friction is Hartlepool’s third-biggest employer. It is responsible for more than 400 full-time staff, which accounts for half of the entire business park’s employees.

The park is also the base for firms involved in steel fabrication and polyethylene bag manufacturing and is part of the Tees Valley Enterprise Zone.

Should the 189-home development go ahead, TMD Friction bosses are worried their current operations would no longer be viable, placing jobs and any further investment in the area at risk.

Mayor Houchen said: “As one of the single largest employers in Hartlepool with huge prospects of expansion, TMD Friction is vastly important to the town and the wider Tees Valley economy.

“This industrial site has the potential for further investment from existing businesses, so it is clearly not the right area for more homes. If these homes are built, it’ll be bad news for the town’s economy.

“I will be visiting TMD Friction in the coming weeks to further understand their challenges. In the meantime, I implore Homes England to reconsider the proposals that could lead to hundreds of vital jobs being lost.”

Liam Booth, TMD Friction UK’s Hartlepool Senior Operations Manager, said: “We have had previous experience with residential developments negatively impacting our business and are nervous this will happen again.

“TMD Friction is committed to a bright future in Hartlepool, to the livelihoods of our hard-working staff and the wider community that our employees belong to.

“We applaud Mayor Houchen for getting involved to try to get Homes England to rethink their wholly inappropriate development plans and look forward to meeting him soon.”