WORK has begun on the former steelworks site on anniversary of its closure.
October 2 marked five years since the liquidation of SSI steelworks, Redcar, which lead to around 2,000 jobs disappearing overnight in a massive blow to people in Redcar, communities across Teesside and the regional economy.
On the anniversary of the site’s collapse, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen marked the anniversary by demolishing its former gatehouse – paving the way for the site’s new future and brand-new, state-of-the-art entrance.
The work follows 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.
Plans for a new entrance were revealed less than two weeks ago but Mayor Houchen and North East-based Esh Construction, who is delivering the project, are already pressing ahead with works to deliver the £1million development by Christmas.
Along with the new gatehouse and entrance, construction will be carried out on new landscaping and expanded visitor parking. Esh has promised to use the responsible procurement of local suppliers and sub-contractors and has said that 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 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.”
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. “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.”