Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (2 October) marked the five-year anniversary of the liquidation of SSI steelworks by demolishing its former gatehouse – paving the way for the site’s bright future and a brand-new, state-of-the-art entrance.
Plans for a new entrance were revealed less than two weeks ago but Mayor Houchen and North East-based Esh Construction are already pressing ahead with works to deliver the £1million development by Christmas.
SSI collapsed into liquidation in October 2015, leading to around 2,000 jobs disappearing overnight in a massive blow to people in Redcar, communities across Teesside and the regional economy.
Following the successful compulsory purchase proceedings over SSI and the three Thai banks earlier this year, development is now moving ahead at pace across the newly named Teesworks site, work that will create 775 jobs over the next 12-months.
Local firm Esh Construction, one of the leading contractors across the North of England, is delivering this project, which will see a state-of-the-art gatehouse and entrance constructed, along with new landscaping and expanded visitor parking. Esh is committed to the responsible procurement of local suppliers and sub-contractors and more than a third of the project spend will be re-invested into the Tees Valley economy, with a substantial package of works already being placed with a Stockton-based company.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen added “The pain, job losses and economic impact from this site’s closure five years ago cannot be understated. The closure ripped the heart out of communities. The heart-breaking image of one worker leaving his boots and hard hat by the site showed the human impact of the closure. The only local people I want to see at the Teesworks entrance now are those lined up ready to take advantage of all of the jobs we’re creating on the site.
“We’ll soon see diggers on the site and construction under way on the state-of-the-art gateway, which will be an impressive shop window for our international investors and something local people can be proud of.
“We only announced our 12-month, £393million demolition and remediation programme a few short months ago, but we’re already getting to work and contracting local firms providing hundreds of local jobs for real local people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.
“There’s so much activity under way across the entire site and it feels right to be carrying this out today, marking an important milestone and finally drawing a line under the problems of the past; represents a new start for the whole area.”
Cllr Mary Lanigan, Leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “It was a devastating blow when SSI closed for all of us in Redcar and Cleveland, but especially those directly affected. A lot of hard work from a lot of people has happened since and it is wonderful to see that beginning to pay off. Ourselves and our partners are determined to press on and create an industrial site of global significance which can attract investment from around the world. Today is another step on the road to ensuring thousands of quality jobs return to our borough for generations to come.”
Andy Radcliffe, Esh Group’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “The demolition of the former gatehouse and the reinstatement of this new entrance is a significant milestone in the regeneration of the former SSI site and without doubt will act as a catalyst for job creation, economic growth and business investment in the Tees Valley.
“Our deep-rooted values at Esh very much align with that of the Mayors – we believe in employing local, buying local and providing maximum economic benefit for our clients and their communities. We look forward to working alongside the Mayor and his team on future projects, such as further enabling works and the development of new assets and infrastructure, and ultimately in playing our part in making the Tees Valley a driving force for economic and social value in the North East of England.”