Cities Minister Greg Clark has confirmed that the Tees Valley's city deal bid will now go through to the next stage.
The next stage will work towards determining which powers can be transferred to a local level, in order to determine the detail before a final decision can be made.
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Feeling much colder later on Saturday. Wintry showers possible on Sunday and Monday
The pressure group Ashley Out has called for demonstrations outside every Sports Direct store within a 20-mile radius of St James' Park.