Middlesbrough railway station development 'fully funded'

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen. Credit: Tees Valley Combined Authority

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen says a £35m redevelopment of Middlesbrough railway station is now fully funded after a further £9m was provided by the Government.

The scheme, on which work is due to start next year and which will include a platform extension to potentially accommodate high speed East Coast trains, had seen £22.5m committed to it by the Tees Valley Combined Authority with £2.45m being provided by the Government for design and development work.

Now £9.65m has been earmarked from a fund announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this year for so-called shovel ready building projects.

Mr Houchen has been discussing the prospect of daily services to London from Middlesbrough being restored with the publicly operated LNER, which runs trains on the East Coast Mainline.

Other proposed improvements at the station include a new £6.5m entrance with accompanying commercial business units being created on Zetland Road.

Meanwhile, a new 'gateway' entrance to Teesworks - the newly named former Redcar steel plant site - will receive £4.1m worth of funding from the same pot.

The entrance will include dedicated induction, training and development spaces and is aimed at accelerating investment into the wider 4,500 acre site, which is managed by the South Tees Development Corporation.

Mr Houchen recently said 19 demolition projects were due to start on the site over the next 12 months, creating 390 jobs.

Businesses have already been invited to bid for a contract as part of a £120m electrical infrastructure project to upgrade the ageing power network on the site.

Mr Houchen also announced a further £3.65m had been allocated to the second phase of development of Darlington's Central Park.

It is home to the Centre for Process Innovation's National Biologics and Manufacturing Centre and Teesside University's National Horizons Centre, both centres of excellence in the biologics and life sciences sector. 

The cash will fund new high-quality business accommodation including laboratory and office space.

Mr Houchen said that all three Tees Valley projects were due to be completed by the end of March 2022.

The funding announcements were welcomed by Mr Houchen's political allies - Conservative MPs Simon Clarke, who represents Middlesbrough South and east Cleveland, and Jacob Young, the Tory MP for Redcar.

There was criticism from Labour which said the public were growing tired of Mr Houchen's "hard hat re-announcements" and it was time he delivered on predictions of thousands of jobs being on their way.

Labour's Andy McDonald, the MP for Middlesbrough and former shadow transport secretary, claimed the funding for the station project still would not be enough for the works required.

He added that the cost of "sorting the additional platform tracks and signalling at Middlesbrough Station" will be more than £40m before any work on "the re-configuring of the north facing facade" had begun.

Mr McDonald said he was continuing to push for a new Treasury hub to be based in the region after the Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in March a new economic campus was to be created in the North which would house a fifth of Treasury workers.

Criticism also came from Alex Cunningham, the MO for Stockton North.

He added that the public was "wise to his slick PR campaign".