Message from the Mayor
In the past year of these newsletters, I had been talking a lot about our accelerated demolition programme over at Teesworks, to get the land ready for current and future investment. That is all changing in 2022 as we bring down the last of the old steelmaking facilities, continue land remediation, and create hundreds of acres of investor-ready land and commence rebuilding.
If 2021 kicked off our demolition in earnest, 2022 is our year of construction.
As you’ll read below, we’ve secured a huge new investor at Teesworks in SeAH Wind, joining what is fast becoming the UK’s premier hub for offshore wind – but it’s not just at that site that you’ll be seeing very real change very soon.
All across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool projects that have long been in the pipeline are getting spades in the ground. They’ll soon be ready to create unprecedented opportunity and deliver jobs – and crucial support for people to get those jobs – in the safer, cleaner and healthier industries of the future.
We’ve got work ongoing at Teesworks for the Skills Academy and South Bank Quay but things are also pressing ahead with many other projects. Those already under construction, or that soon will be, include Teesside Airport Southside business park, Sky Bar and offices, Teesside University’s Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre, Darlington, Eaglescliffe, Billingham and Middlesbrough stations, Darlington’s Rail Heritage Quarter, Redcar’s Regent Cinema which is almost complete, further developments at Middlesbrough’s Centre Square, investments by Sabic and Fujifilm and many many more!
It’s fair to say we’ve got a busy and exciting year ahead of us, and below you’ll be able to read how far we’ve come in three short months, and many of our plans for the coming year and beyond.
SeAH Wind to Build World’s Biggest £300m Offshore Wind Facility
Global pipe manufacturer SeAH Wind Ltd has announced that it will be bringing a £200-£300million monopile manufacturing facility to Teesworks.
When up and running, the firm’s 90-acre site will be the world’s biggest facility for producing the large steel tubes that form the foundations of the construction of offshore wind turbines.
Sitting by the under-development South Bank Quay, it will create 750 direct jobs and 1,500 more in the supply chain and during construction when that begins in June. When fully operational in 2026 it is expected to produce between 100 and 150 monopiles per year.
Local supply chain businesses can learn first-hand how they can get involved in the construction of the new factory at an event on April 20. NOF will be hosting the event at Hardwick Hall in Sedgefield, which is free for companies in the Tees Valley. Places are limited so if you are interested, please send your postcode to email@example.com to check eligibility and book now to avoid disappointment.
To support SeAH Wind’s facility, 350 steel piles – hollow metal pipes more than 80ft long and 6ft wide – are now being driven into the ground to strengthen the wall of the South Bank quay. Local firm Hall Construction carried out the earthworks ahead of UK contractor Graham performing the construction.
Graham is nearing completion on the Teesworks Skills Academy, the steel frame was put into place in January with cladding, internal infrastructure works and decorating continuing over the past three months. The £2.1million two-floor, 5,400sq ft academy includes three classrooms, meetings and interview rooms and will be complete in a matter of weeks. When opened, it will support the Skills Academy in helping local people take advantage of the jobs and opportunities being created on the site.
Teesworks has once again welcomed VIP visitors, this time as part of its status as the heart of the Teesside Freeport. Barclays Bank’s Group Chief Executive C.S. Venkatakrishnan and its Head of Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics Lee Collinson were hosted on a tour of the site and learned of all the opportunities the Freeport is bringing across the region.
The accelerated demolition programme has also seen the South Bank gas holder, the last major structure in the South Bank area of the site, taken down by explosive demolition. Two Junction Houses and the last high-level conveyors, within the Raw Materials area of the former steelworks, have also been brought down.
Airport’s £200million Business Park Revealed
Teesside Airport is set to capitalise on its land and property assets as it revealed the details for the £200million Southside Business park, alongside other developments.
A total of 1.9million sq ft of logistics, distribution, and industrial buildings, with direct access from the A67, is set to be created on 270 acres of land running parallel to the runway – the largest area primed for development.
Phase one of the new business park will see the creation of four new units along a through road, with the ability to split them into as many as ten smaller units, covering 130,000sq ft. Subsequent phases would see plots of between one to 200 acres developed as more businesses look to base themselves at the airport, with the development expected to create up to 4,400 jobs when fully operational.
Around 50 workers from ten local firms have been on site progressing work on the airport’s new viewing platform, Sky Bar and office space which are all being created landside. Ageing office space is being transformed to give passengers and public alike the chance to see, in comfort and style, flights arriving and departing. The old disused, dilapidated buffet restaurant is also being brought back to life as a new business suite.
A hydrogen refuelling station, two Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and a forklift have landed at the airport as part of the region’s Hydrogen Transport Hub pilot. Element 2 has set up the station to provide fuel for hydrogen-powered vehicles across the region, alongside a Kangoo light van and hydrogen tug due to arrive at the airport by May.
To help drive forward the airport’s ambitions, Kate Willard OBE has also been appointed the new Chair of two boards overseeing the running of the airport, replacing outgoing chair David Soley. She will chair the Board of Directors of Teesside International Airport Limited and also the Board of Directors of its holding company, Goosepool (2019) Limited, following the end of David’s term in the role.
As an independent consultant working on a number of diverse infrastructure and growth projects, Kate has played an ongoing role in the development of the airport since it was taken into public ownership and sits on the board of trustees for the Airport Foundation charitable trust.
Finally, this summer the Red Arrows are set to wow audiences as they headline the Teesside Airshow on Saturday, 11 June, which is being hosted once again by the airport. The Royal Air Force Acrobatic Team will be landing at the airport, using it as their base for the event, during which they will perform a 25-minute display. Alongside the team, RAF’s Red Falcons parachute display team and a Eurofighter Typhoon will entertain families alongside a 300-strong car show, funfair, live music and more.
For tickets and more information, see www.teessideairshow.co.uk
Major Station Transformations Take Next Steps Forward
Plans to transform Darlington, Middlesbrough and Eaglescliffe railway stations have taken huge steps forward in the first three months of 2022.
Earlier this month the Planning Inspectorate ruled in favour of a compulsory purchase order for Darlington Station, brought by Darlington Borough Council, in respect of parcels of land both east and west of the station. This will pave the way for the redevelopment of the station, which will see a new platform, entrance, station building and upgrades to transport links.
Planning has also been approved to allow phase two of the £34million overhaul of Middlesbrough station to get under way. Works are beginning to renovate and revitalise the disused, dilapidated undercroft, turning it into a new entrance and ticket hall building. The town has also secured £4.25million from the Cultural Development Fund, part of which will be used to help make it the most creative in the UK, welcoming artists in residence.
Finally, major improvements planned for Eaglescliffe station were revealed in new images, as a planning application was submitted for its new car park by Stockton Borough Council. The works will see the existing ramps providing access to platforms replaced with a new footbridge and lifts to improve accessibility. This footpath will also provide access to the station from the west, at Durham Lane Industrial Estate, where a new 120-space car park will be located.
£6million Funding Boost for Festivals and TV and Film Production
The region’s cultural and creative sector and its workers are set for a boost after two new sets of funding were announced.
The Tees Valley Festivals Scale-Up Programme is a new £1.6million fund to help regionally distinctive, professionally delivered festivals with high growth potential expand and innovate. It will offer access to grant funding, bespoke business support, advice, networking and training opportunities between 2022 and 2026.
The region’s TV and film production sector was backed by a £4.5million boost following the commitment from the BBC to invest £25million over five years to fund production and talent development in the region. The North East Screen Industries Partnership – made up of the North East’s combined and local authorities, agreed to invest £11.4million to capitalise on this, with £4.5million coming from the Tees Valley. It will be used to scale-up the region’s screen agency, Northern Film and Media, alongside a production development and support fund.
Plans were also revealed for the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. To mark the bicentenary of the birth of the modern railway in 2025, councils and groups across the region are working together to drive forward a huge series of events. At the heart are plans for a recreation of the inaugural journey from Witton Park via Shilton and Darlington to Stockton using the replica Locomotion 1.
A regular steam shuttle service could also go ahead, as well as scheduled trains being turned over to historic steam, with locomotives like the Tornado or Flying Scotsman replacing modern units. A unique collection of more than 30 early locomotives will be brought together as a linked exhibition across several sites and it is hoped this activity will trigger a host of mini-carnivals, parades and celebrations in communities along the 26-mile line.
Over the Moon with Tees Flex’s Second Year Success
Tees Flex, the region’s on-demand bus service, has gone from strength to strength in its second year with the vehicles having now clocked up 908,570 miles, almost enough miles to go to the moon and back – twice.
Launched in February 2020, it completed 111,375 rides in its first two years with demand almost doubling year-on-year during some periods – 6,246 rides took place in one month between January and February 2022, versus just 3,636 the previous year.
Despite being launched just ahead of the first coronavirus lockdown, the service has proved popular and offered a vital lifeline to help keep the region’s most isolated communities connected throughout the pandemic.
The £3million service is currently operated by Stagecoach on an initial three-year pilot and local people have been happy with the service too, with Tees Flex holding a 4.9 out of 5 satisfaction rating. Operating six days a week, Tees Flex can be booked via a smartphone app, a website or over the telephone.
Our Local Enterprise Partnership includes representatives and champions from a range of important Tees Valley sectors, giving them a voice in the Combined Authority’s decision-making and strategy development. Our small and medium-sized enterprises make up a vast proportion of business activity in the region, and to make sure they can be heard, we have appointed Stephen Gill as SME Champion.
To tie more closely to the Combined Authority’s Tees Valley Business service and ensure it and others are doing all they can to support SMEs, in February we held the first meeting of the new Tees Valley LEP SME Growth Advisory Panel. Chaired by Stephen, it is made up of LEP members, business representatives and officers from the Combined Authority and its five constituent Local Authorities. It will provide strategic oversight of the business support offer, providing leadership and direction in order to meet the needs of companies and support their growth strategies
This group will review all stages of the current business support programme provision and inform the design of future programmes to ensure a more coordinated and streamlined and accessible approach. In partnership with myself the group will also actively explore emerging public and private sector funding opportunities to further enhance our business support offer, as well as proactively influencing and subsequently providing updates on national business support programmes and how these can meet the needs of our businesses across the Tees Valley.
Supporting small and medium-sized businesses, to not only start up but also scale up, is a huge priority for both the LEP and the Combined Authority. If SMEs want to get in touch about the support available to them, including advice on funding and finance options they should contact Tees Valley Business, at www.teesvalleybusiness.com
Tees Valley LEP Chair
Levelling Up White Paper
The government published the Levelling Up White Paper on 2 February, setting out a plan to transform the UK by spreading opportunity and prosperity to all parts of it.
The White Paper includes 12 national missions which are quantifiable and to be achieved by 2030. The missions are the policy objectives for levelling up and will be given status in law in a flagship Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.
The White Paper sets out six capitals for levelling up and ensuring that every area in the UK has access to these 6 capitals, which are:
- Physical capital – infrastructure, machines, and housing
- Human capital – the skills, health, and experience of the workforce
- Intangible capital – innovation, ideas, and patents
- Financial capital – resources supporting the financing of companies
- Social capital – the strength of communities, relationships, and trust
- Institutional capital – local leadership, capacity, and capability
Government will create a new regime to oversee its levelling up missions, establishing a statutory duty to publish an annual report analysing progress and a new external Levelling Up Advisory Council.
UK Shared Prosperity Fund – Pre-Launch Guidance
The Pre-Launch Guidance for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund was published alongside the Levelling Up White Paper and sets out a new approach to improve livelihoods and opportunity in all parts of the UK.
The primary goal of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is to build pride in place and increase life chances across the UK. It provides £2.6billion of new funding for local investment by March 2025, with all areas of the UK receiving an allocation from the Fund via a funding formula rather than a competition.
The full prospectus is expected to be published later in the spring.
Spring Statement 2022
The Chancellor of the Exchequer presented his Spring Statement to Parliament on 23 March. Key headlines include:
- Additional support to households and businesses
- Increase in the annual National Insurance Primary Threshold and Lower Profits Limit from £9,880 to £12,570, aligning it with the income tax personal allowance from July 2022
- Cut in the basic rate of income tax by one percentage point to 19% from April 2024
- Temporary 12-month cut to duty on petrol and diesel of 5p per litre
- Extending the VAT relief available for the installation of energy saving materials
- Provision of an additional £500million for the Household Support Fund from April
- Increase in the Employment Allowance from April 2022 from £4,000 to £5,000
- To help SMEs gain the skills they need to succeed, government is subsidising the cost of high-quality training. Help to Grow: Management offers businesses 12 weeks of world class leadership training through the UK’s top business schools, with government covering 90% of the cost. The cost of apprenticeship training is 95% subsidised for SMEs that do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy
- To support businesses to invest and grow, the temporary £1million level of the Annual Investment Allowance has been extended to 31 March 2023
- Green reliefs for Business Rates – At Autumn Budget 2021 the government announced the introduction of targeted business rate exemptions from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2035 for eligible plant and machinery used in onsite renewable energy generation and storage, and a 100% relief for eligible low-carbon heat networks with their own rates bill, to support the decarbonisation of non-domestic buildings – this will now take effect from April 2022
- A new Tax Plan which was published on 23 March 2022 and has 3 priorities:
- Cost of Living – help for families
- Capital, People, Ideas – creating the conditions for private sector-led growth
- Sharing Growth – sharing the proceeds of higher growth fairly with working people