Skip to main content

Tees Valley Newsletter – Winter 2019

Message from the Mayor 

How things come full circle in a year! We kicked off 2019 by agreeing a ten-year, £588.2million investment plan that brought our airport back under public ownership, and I’ve finished the year with another major airport announcement. That is that next year sees the return of the Tees Valley Airshow to Teesside International on Sunday, May 24. The much-loved event ran in 2016 and 2017, bringing thousands of people from far and wide, so I am delighted that we have been able to bring it back for everyone to enjoy.

And that’s not the only big news over the past three months, not even just at our airport. We boosted accessibility with the extension of the Number 12 bus service in Darlington and KLM posted its best passenger numbers in 14 years. We welcomed business leaders, travel agents, children travelling to Ghana for a shared learning experience trip – and we even helped a woman fulfil her dreams of marshalling a plane!

This quarter also saw Paul Booth, our brilliant LEP Chair, announce he was standing down in 2020 when his term comes to an end. I’d like to be the first to thank him for all of his hard work and dedication. He has gone above and beyond in his role and he will be sorely missed for his insight, support and advice. His announcement came at the same time as our new LEP membership drive, the details of which you can find in Paul’s update below.

In other news, as you’ll read, £35million was agreed to establish a new one-stop shop for business support, including a £20million business investment fund. We also pledged £14.5million for the relocation of the Northern School of Art in Middlesbrough.

And after a fantastic summer of events, including BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, concerts by Take That and Jess Glynne and the Great North CityGames, I joined Middlesbrough Football Club to reveal another chart-topping act was coming to the Riverside next year, in the shape of The Killers.

At this time of year, our thoughts naturally turn to giving, which is why we also created an Enjoy Tees Valley 2020 charity calendar, with all profits going to our charity partner A Way Out. You can get yours by visiting

Now it’s time for some well-deserved rest! I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Airport’s Flying High in Autumn

Teesside Airport ¦ Tees Valley Combined Authority

The past quarter has seen a number of significant developments at Teesside International Airport as the facility’s 10-Year Rescue Plan continues.

Just days ago Mayor Houchen revealed that the Tees Valley Airshow would be returning to our airport after a two-year break.

Taking place on Sunday, May 24, 2020, the show will see fly-bys and static displays return, along with a classic car show, Army displays and a fun fair, as well as live music and stalls.

The airshow is being sponsored by the Tees Valley Mayor, Tees Valley Combined Authority and Enjoy Tees Valley. Tickets are £5 in advance and £10 on the day. Parking will also be £5.

For more information, visit

In September, the airport celebrated its best month in 14 years for its route to and from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport operated by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

The figures from regulator the Civil Aviation Authority came as KLM marked its 100th birthday in October and showed the air-link, which is popular among business and leisure travellers, saw its highest traffic since October 2005.

KLM operates three flights a day between Teesside International and Amsterdam Schiphol, providing a valuable link between the region and an airport taking passengers to around 200 locations.

Getting to the airport has become easier too, after a new bus service to and from the airport was launched by Mayor Houchen in November.

In partnership with major bus operator Arriva, a new extension of the Number 12 service is linking the airport directly with Darlington town centre, as well as Hurworth, Morton Park and Middleton St George.

The new route includes two stops at the terminal building before 9am and four stops after 3pm.  This extension has been designed with the airport’s current popular mid-morning departures and afternoon arrivals from Amsterdam and Aberdeen in mind.

Business and agent engagements have also taken place, with the airport and Balkan Holidays welcoming more than 50 travel agents from across the North East to showcase the exciting opportunities available at the airport.

Guests were given a tour of the airport’s facilities, ahead of presentations by Teesside International Airport and Balkan Holidays. These highlighted the positive work taking place to drive the airport forward, as well as the success of Balkan Holidays’ partnership with the airport, in providing the first holiday flights for five years.

Thanks to the continual support of travel agents, as well as the airport’s international destinations and increasing air links, sales for both Balkan Holidays and Teesside International Airport were up 17% year on year.

Business leaders from the region have also joined the Mayor and Stobart Group’s Kate Willard recently for an exclusive dinner, the first of its kind, which focused on how Teesside International can become a hub for the 17,500 businesses in the region.

The airport continues to serve the community, too, with students, teachers and ex-teachers from Sacred Heart RC School, Redcar flying from Teesside International to The Republic of Ghana for a shared learning experience trip.

The exchange programme with Ayensudo Junior High, on the south coast of Ghana, has been running for the past eight years. Eight children, a teacher and two ex-teachers will be taking part in the scheme. Each student independently raised £1,500 for the trip.

During the last trip in February, the local community in Ghana decided to use the money raised by Sacred Heart RC School to build a bungalow at the back of their school which will be used to accommodate the 20 student teachers who train at the school.

And the airport was also delighted to help a special lady make one of her dreams come true in late November. Out of the blue local resident David Charlton wrote to the Mayor to ask if it would be possible to help his wife, Catherine, fulfil a lifelong dream of marshalling a plane.

On Catherine’s 65th birthday, she was invited to the airport by the Mayor to fulfil that wish, which really put a smile on her face. You can see a video of the event here.


Northern Powerhouse Export Awards to Be Held In Tees Valley

Nominations are now open for the 2020 PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Export Awards, taking place at Teesside International Airport.

The event was created by UMi in 2016 to celebrate the North’s top exporters and their achievements and this year the Mayor and Combined Authority are headline sponsors, along with PD Ports and HSBC.

The awards, held in partnership with PD Ports and in association with HSBC, will take place on 19 March 2020 at the airport.

You can find details on how to nominate businesses, book tickets and sponsorship opportunities, here.


Calendar Launched To Benefit Charity Helping Most Vulnerable

Tees Valley Mayor and Sarah McManus Launching the Calendar ¦ Tees Valley Combined Authority

A charity calendar has been launched to raise cash for some of the region’s most at-risk people.

The Enjoy Tees Valley calendar features inspirational pictures of the region’s much-loved landmarks and events, including Darlington’s South Park, the HMS Trincomalee, Take That concert in Middlesbrough, Saltburn Pier and Stockton International Riverside Festival.

At least £4 in every £5 sale will be donated to charity partner A Way Out, an organisation which delivers services aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable women, families and young people. It is hoped the calendar will raise thousands of pounds for the charity.

The launch begins the first major fundraising drive by the Mayor and Combined Authority since A Way Out, based in Stockton-on-Tees, was adopted as a charity partner for the forthcoming year. The Mayor was on hand with the charity’s Chief Executive Sarah McManus to reveal the calendar at Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium.

Hays Travel has provided a £100 voucher as part of a competition for those buying the calendar online at

The calendar is also being sold at Teesside International Airport, Middlesbrough Football Club, Tees Barrage, the Combined Authority offices in Stockton, local council offices and other locations across the region.

Local suppliers, including printer AlphaGraphics and web design agency Hush Digital, have helped to produce the calendar and facilitate sales.


Riverside Stadium to Host a Killer Concert

The Killers ¦ Tees Valley Combined Authority

The Tees Valley Mayor joined Middlesbrough Football Club to announce that the multi-award winning, chart-topping rock band The Killers will play the Riverside Stadium next summer.

Tickets sold out within 30 minutes to the Las Vegas group’s gig, which will take to the stage at the Riverside on Saturday June 13 2020, supported by Manic Street Preachers.

The Killers, holders of a five-album streak of UK No.1 albums, will close out the UK leg of their ‘Imploding The Mirage’ tour on Teesside.

It will be the second major concert seen at the Riverside after June’s hugely successful Take That event in front of more than 30,000 fans. It also follows a raft of massive events in 2019 including BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, a concert by Jess Glynne at Darlington’s Mowden Park and Stockton hosting the Great North CityGames.


£35million Business Fund to Launch in New Year

Business Fund ¦ Tees Valley Combined Authority

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and the Combined Authority Cabinet have agreed a £35milion investment to establish a new support service for the region’s businesses.

The programme will provide local companies with a single point of contact for a range of support to help businesses start up and grow, including comprehensive advice on funding and finance options and assistance in establishing links with potential funding sources.

It will also include a £20million Tees Valley Business Fund, the largest investment fund of its kind in the region, awarding grants and loans to firms looking to invest, expand and create jobs.

The scheme, which will be launched in January next year, will build on the current Tees Valley Business Compass service, which has offered guidance and funding to around 1,400 local businesses since 2017 and a new website will be launched in January.


£14.5million Approved for Northern School of Art Relocation

Artists' impression of the new Northern School of Art campus | Tees Valley Combined Authority

A total of £14.5million has been signed off by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority Cabinet to help deliver Northern School of Art’s new state-of-the-art further education campus in Middlesbrough.

The scheme will see the School’s college-level campus relocating from its existing Acklam base to an architect-designed, purpose-built, three-storey building in the centre of Middlesbrough.

It will create new teaching space for the North’s only specialist art and design college, which provides a range of arts, design, theatre and film courses.

If plans are approved, the School’s new 5,200sqm college level campus building will be located on the site of the former Denmark Street car park, opposite the BBC studios and adjacent to the town centre Sainsbury’s store.

The new location will be an easily accessible base for students from across Tees Valley who are attracted by the School’s specialist creative curriculum, as well as supporting cleaner transport options with easy access to the bus and railway stations.


Plans Launched to Make Middlesbrough The UK’s Digital City

Plans to make Middlesbrough THE Digital City ¦ Tees Valley Combined Authority

A £250million project to establish Middlesbrough as the UK’s digital city, leading to the creation of more than 2,000 jobs, has been unveiled.

The plans include building the highest office and residential towers for 30 miles as part of an initial £45million phase of the project that will transform Teesside’s skyline and lead to 1,000 new jobs in the digital and creative industries, rising to 2,000 jobs in future phases.

Andy Preston, Middlesbrough Mayor and Combined Authority Cabinet Lead for Business Growth, met 200 business leaders in Middlesbrough in September to present the bold vision for the town which will benefit from the biggest single investment in Middlesbrough’s history.

Construction of the first phase, which will include three 20 storey-towers, will start next summer and create up to 400 construction jobs. It will see the creation of a digital campus, a 750-seat indoor amphitheatre beneath a glass atrium and a 400-seat outdoor amphitheatre to host events such as lectures, cultural events and entertainment.

The £30million office development is being joint funded by the Tees Valley Combined Authority and Middlesbrough Council. This includes £26.5million from the Combined Authority’s £588million Investment Plan which was agreed earlier this year and sets out a ten-year vision to transform the region. The council will contribute £3.5million, with a further £15million investment in residential accommodation by a third party consortium.


Communities Can Bid For £1.35m Energy Fund

Solar Farm Project | Tees Valley Combined Authority

Community groups across the region are being urged to take advantage of a £1.35million pot to help deliver clean energy projects in their area.

The Rural Community Energy Fund is being delivered by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority and provides grant funding to rural community groups that want to develop their own renewable energy projects.

The cash will help support groups across Tees Valley along with the North East, Yorkshire and Humber establish projects that will benefit the local community, such as anaerobic digestion, heat networks, heat pumps, hydropower, solar PV and solar thermal, and wind turbines.

The funding is available in two stages – the first stage grants are up to a maximum of £40,000 to develop feasibility studies to determine if a renewable energy project could work. No match funding is required.

The second stage of funding is up to a maximum of £100,000 and is available for advanced project development for projects with a clear business case.

Visit for more information or email


Show Inspired by Tees Valley’s Young People To Tour Region

Zest Theatre presents Youthquake | Tees Valley Combined Authority

Five Tees Valley venues have come together to host a dynamic new show inspired by and starring young people from across the region.

Youthquake, by the award-winning Zest Theatre, is described as “part show, part TED Talk and part party”, which takes you on an exhilarating journey through Teen Britain and asks what it actually means to change the world.

To help develop the piece, the company engaged with 800 young people from across the UK and spent five weeks in Tees Valley speaking to more than 500 of them, hearing their stories and learning of their experiences.

At each venue, the two main cast members, Harris Cain and Claire Gaydon, will be supported by an ensemble of young people from that borough, with local voices and insights interwoven with the main story.

The show, which has been part-commissioned by the Tees Valley Combined Authority, has won a raft of rave reviews, will have its regional premiere at Hartlepool’s Centre for Excellence in Creative Arts on 16/17 January 2020 before touring the remaining local authority areas during the following weeks. Four performances will take place at each venue, which will be a mixture of productions for schools and the general public.

Tickets are free and more information can be found at here.


Consultation on Draft Strategic Transport Plan Ends

Cllr Scott launching the draft Strategic Transport Plan | Tees Valley Combined Authority

A consultation on the priorities and proposals for the future of travel across Tees Valley has now closed.

The Combined Authority’s draft Strategic Transport Plan, which was put out to public consultation in August, includes £257million of schemes to improve transport in the region.

More than 400 responses were received from members of the public before the consultation closed on Wednesday, November 20.

The plan covers all forms of transport, from roads, rail and air to buses and sustainable travel such as walking and cycling routes. It looks at major themes of national rail, major roads, connecting centres, unlocking key sites, and local journeys while delivering social equity and protecting and enhancing the environment.

The responses have now been analysed, with first draft report on the public’s opinion written to inform the final plan, which will be published in the new year.


LEP Update – By Paul Booth OBE

It’s a major update from me this quarter, as I will be stepping down as Tees Valley’s Local Enterprise Partnership Chair in 2020.

After being involved in more than a decade of partnership working between the public and private sectors, it was fantastic to be appointed Chair of the LEP in 2015.

Since I joined, a lot of changes have taken place across Tees Valley – some good, some bad. We’ve seen the creation of the Combined Authority and the LEP’s integration within it, but we’ve also seen the tragic closure of the former SSI Steelworks and the loss of thousands of jobs. Still, the region pulled together and from that disaster rose the SSI Task Force, which helped almost everyone affected back into a job.

I’ve also played a part in the ongoing work at the South Tees Development Corporation, the biggest opportunity for inward investment in the UK. I’ve seen it grow from a concept to a reality, with more than half of all the developable land now back in public ownership, and the CPO under way for the rest.

My role hasn’t been without its challenges but I’ve been incredibly proud to use my expertise from 40 years in the chemicals industry to assist and advise the Mayor, Combined Authority and Local Authority leaders and play a part in the regeneration of the place I love to call home.

But this a new beginning for the LEP, with a fresh membership drive starting now to get new visionary business leaders on board – and with the aim of a 50/50 gender split of members in 2020.

So I would ask all of our senior members of businesses who feel that they, or the work they do, adds real value to Tees Valley to put themselves forward and help create the most diverse, representative LEP yet.

Thank you all for your support in my role over the years, but you’ll still see me around doing what I can to help our region.



Policy Update

General Election 2019

The General Election was held on 12th December 2019. The Conservative Party returned to office with a majority of 80 seats.

The policies in the Conservative Manifesto which are relevant to the work of Tees Valley Combined Authority are listed below.

  • The country will leave the EU in January 2020.
  • Creation of the Towns Fund to drive long-term economic and productive growth
  • The government’s ambition for full devolution across England, building on the devolution of powers to city region mayors. An English Devolution White Paper setting out the government’s plans will be published within the next year
  • Net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the delivery of two million new high-quality jobs in clean growth
  • £100billion additional infrastructure spending to generate growth
  • £1billion investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Support for small businesses and start-ups by reducing business rates, increasing Employment Allowance via government procurement
  • UK Shared Prosperity Fund will replace EU Structural Funds and as a minimum match the size of those funds in each nation. £500million of the fund will support skills development for disadvantaged people
  • Roll-out of gigabit broadband across the country by 2025
  • Environment Bill to protect and restore the natural environment after leaving the EU. Investment in nature will include a new £640million Nature for Climate fund to help achieve the Net Zero Target
  • Requirement for significant numbers of new UK apprenticeships for all big new infrastructure projects
  • Create a new National Skills Fund worth £3billion. This will provide match funding for individuals and SMEs for high-quality education and training
  • Investing an extra £2billion to upgrade the entire Further Education college estate

Next steps

  • A minor Cabinet re-shuffle took place on Monday 16th
  • Parliament resumed on Tuesday 17th December with new MPs sworn in
  • The Queen will formally open Parliament on Thursday 19th December when she sets out the government’s legislative programme
  • The Budget is reported to be delivered in February 2020