Gateshead and Teesside river quaysides are to receive multi-million-pound regeneration and redevelopment. The investments are welcome news amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
The North East England Chamber of Commerce policy director, Jonathan Walker, told ITV News "these kinds of investments and developments will help to show businesses that there’s a future after Covid and that actually our region can rebuild and recover."
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Planners have given the green light to a £260 million redevelopment of the Gateshead Quayside, which the leader of the council said would be "a world-class site".
The project will see a brand new international exhibition centre built, a 12,500 seater indoor entertainment arena, a hotel, leisure facilities and extensive public realm.
Gateshead Council leaders say they hope the investment will help inject £60 million into the local economy each year, attracting 300,000 visitors to the North East.It is also expected to create around 2,000 jobs both during and after the three-year construction phase.
Leader of Gateshead Council Martin Gannon said, "We’re looking at a world-class site."
You know there are locations around the world that are instantly recognisable, you know Sydney Harbour, San Francisco, New York, and going onto that list will be Gateshead Newcastle. People of Gateshead will benefit, not just from the employment, not just from the regeneration, but we’ll generate surpluses to support services, so the intention is for it not to be subsidised by the taxpayer.
Meanwhile, on Teesside, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has announced plans to develop a new £90million quay at South Bank on the River Tees, in the hopes of making Teesside the UK’s premier offshore wind location.
The new South Bank Quay will sit on a 1km area along the River Tees - and will be set up to provide global firms with direct access to 500 acres of development land, and thousands more across the wider Teesworks site, straight from the North Sea.
Getting all of this infrastructure in place is absolutely vital if we are going to bounce back to generate new jobs, bring new investment. Building this quay will hopefully attract the offshore wind manufacturers which will create, what we think could be 9,000 jobs in Teesside and it will also see us at the forefront of the revolution of clean, low carbon technologies and low carbon energy.
The new heavy-lift quay will support 100 jobs in the construction phase, and it is hoped could be used for the production of offshore wind turbines for some of the biggest wind farms in the world, strengthening Teesside’s position as the UK leader in clean energy.
Work is due to begin in August 2021, with completion expected by the end of the following year, in time for exporting wind turbines to the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, which, located 60 miles off the North-East coast, will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm capable of powering 4.5 million homes.
Phase one of the project will see 450m of the new quay facility built at one of the deepest ports along the east coast of England. The second phase of works will see an additional 600m of quay being developed.
As part of the new facility, an £11million 50-metre wide heavy-duty hardstanding loading facility will be created and primed to support logistics and manufacturers, including in the offshore wind industry. A planning application was submitted to Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council this week, along with the relevant marine licence.
Mayor Houchen said: “I am delighted to be able to unveil these plans today for a new £90 million quay on the River Tees. This huge area of unused land is in such a unique location and has so much potential to help us transform the whole of the Teesworks site into a global logistics and manufacturing centre creating thousands of well paid jobs for local people.
“Teesside is already leading the way for the rest of the UK to follow with our clean energy plans, but this takes us to the next stage. We’ve already announced plans to manufacture offshore wind turbines in the new 4.5million sq ft of state-of-the-art space we are building, and this new heavy lifting quay will give ships and international firms easy access to be able to transport not only these turbines but also all the other exciting projects and businesses that will be located on site.
“The development of the South Bank Quay is an essential step towards establishing us as a pioneer in clean energy, and it would make Teesworks the UK’s premier offshore wind location, just a matter of weeks after the Government announced plans for the UK to be the world leader in offshore wind energy
“My plan for jobs and plan for Teesworks is taking shape. In just over three months more than 557 jobs have been created onsite and this major project will add another 100 to that total when construction kicks off. These are real jobs that have transformed the site, where local people, including former steelworkers, are being employed, giving them more money in their pocket for themselves and their families.
Councillor Mary Lanigan, Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “This huge development would make Teesworks even more attractive to inward investment from companies in the offshore wind sector, with, subject to planning permission, the potential to create lots of jobs for people right here in Redcar and Cleveland, while protecting and growing more in our brilliant supply chain that spans every corner of the Tees Valley.
“It’s the start of a massive project that shows how we’re making the most of our site and its assets to drive forward our economy in the long-term and ensure a bright future. But as the coronavirus situation continues to affect us all, the construction sector is where jobs are needed now and all of our work at Teesworks is delivering these too.”