1. ITV Report

Steelmaking to return to Redcar within three years as major deal agreed for former SSI land

A deal has been reached with three Thai banks to bring land at the former Redcar steelworks back into public hands.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has announced an agreement with SSI, over the huge swathes of industrial land on the south bank of the Tees.

It follows nearly three weeks of intense negotiations between Mayor Houchen and the South Tees Development Corporation (STDC) and SSI.

The mayor has said that the agreement will speak the return of steelmaking to the site within three years.

SSI, Redcar Credit: NCJ Media

The deal sees the 840 acres of land owned by SSI UK, along with all other assets on the site, acquired by and transferred to the STDC.

As part of the agreement, SSI will not fight a compulsory purchase order, a hearing for which was started in South Bank last week.

In effect, SSI will pull out of the CPO process but it will continue at the South Tees Business Centre so that smaller parcels of land can be brought under the control of the STDC.

But the hearing was told on Thursday morning that there is still some procedural work to be done, and that one outstanding objection remains from one of the banks - which planning inspector Phillip Ware says is “very, very likely” to be withdrawn.

As part of the deal, 90 jobs have been saved at Redcar Bulk Terminal. Credit: NCJ Media

As part of the deal, 90 jobs have been saved at Redcar Bulk Terminal which will continue to operate as normal and a new, integrated port facility will be built at the site.

The deal also includes a plan to develop a state-of-the-art electric arc steel furnace on the STDC Lackenby site, within three years.

At an emergency meeting of board members for the STDC, the deal received unanimous approval.

In January 2019, Mayor Houchen secured a deal with Tata to transfer 1,420 acres, an area almost the size of Gibraltar and more than half of the developable land at the former Redcar Steelworks, to the STDC.

Today’s announcement means the overwhelming majority of land at the former steelworks site is now under public control.

The deal sees the 840 acres of land owned by SSI UK, acquired by and transferred to the STDC. Credit: NCJ Media

I am delighted that today we have reached an agreement with SSI to take back control of the site of the former Redcar steelworks.

“Thanks to the agreement we have reached, we can move forward in breathing new life into an area that was devastated following the steelworks’ closure in 2015.

"With the potential to create more than 20,000 jobs over the next two decades, today really marks the beginning of a new era.

"The journey to this point has not always been an easy or straight forward one, but through the hard work, dedication and commitment of all involved I am pleased we have been able to reach an agreement that works for all parties.

“Those living across Redcar, particularly those in the shadow of the steelworks, the former steelworkers, their families and their communities, will have been waiting for this day to come. I am certain that the deal we have agreed will lead to a brighter and successful future for the area.”

“After years of hard work and negotiations, I can now promise the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool that we can get on with attracting the huge investment and creating the thousands of jobs that this site has the potential to create.”

– Andy McDonald MP,

Win Viriyaprapakit, SSI chief executive said that he fully supports the vision for the site.

Over the last three weeks, we have been in intensive talks with Mayor Houchen and his team to deliver a solution that works for everyone involved, and I am pleased a deal has now been done. I am also grateful for the Thai banks’ support and their good intentions for this regeneration of this region.

"It is from these intense discussions that we saw Mayor Houchen’s integrity and character, and his commitment to the region. Based on that, SSI took the decision to secure a deal as we fully support Mayor Houchen’s vision for the site."

– Win Viriyaprapakit, SSI chief executive

Now that there is an agreement, the door is open for the STDC to secure investment into the site, make safe dangerous coke ovens and other derelict structures, and begin to regenerate and create new, well-paid jobs.

The acquisition of the SSI land is great news for Teesside and it’s a huge relief that a deal has at long last been finally reached and I congratulate the Mayor and all concerned for getting this deal over the line.

“The potential for development and good long-term jobs is absolutely enormous. Labour, as was stated in the north east manifesto, is entirely supportive of the plans to return steelmaking to Teesside and is in complete agreement about the proposal for electric arc furnaces. The UK currently ships vast quantities of scrap metal overseas and there is now a real opportunity to reshore that process and make it a key part of a circular economy in steel making as well as a major component of the local Green Industrial Revolution.

“No doubt we will learn of the detailed financial terms of settlement in due course, but this agreement will hopefully be the springboard for an industrial renaissance for Teesside.”

– Andy McDonald MP, Stockton North